As many as 1,000 mangrove trees along Link Road, Borivli, have been cut to create a parking area for buses, revealed an inspection by the district collectorate, state mangrove cell and the municipal corporation.
The district collector asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) R-North ward to remove the 57 buses from the site and barricade the area to prevent the entry of vehicles. “According to satellite maps of the western suburbs, nearly 1,000 trees have been destroyed at the site and debris dumped. After we filed a panchnama, the debris were removed. Now buses have been parked at the site,” said Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.
According to MHB police station, Borivli, FIRs were filed against the private bus owners and land owners after directives from the collectorate and the BMC. However, both got bail from the court.
HT had reported on February 4 that more than 300 buses parked in former wetlands along Link Road, Dahisar (West) had been removed by the BMC and district collector.
“The BMC has been instructed to remove the buses, construct a barrier, see to it that the land is vacated and submit a report to the collector’s office by the third week of September.”
BMC officials said that work to destroy the road leading to the illegal parking lot was underway.
“We have dug a trench to prevent the entry of buses and will build a barricade over the next 10 days. The shanties on the wetlands have been removed,” said Santosh Patil, sub-engineer, building and factory department, BMC. “Security will be beefed up in the area to prevent further violations.”
A petition filed by the New Link Road Residents’ Forum (NLRRF) at the Bombay high court in 2013 followed by a contempt petition in 2015 led to the action taken by the bodies.The high court had ordered the lower courts and district collectorate to take action in 54 cases across the city where wetlands had been destroyed due to construction activities earlier this year.
“After years of negligence, this action is welcome,” said Harish Pandey, secretary, NLRRF.
On May 6, 100 residents from Saraswati Complex, Dahisar (East) along with the local corporator identified 25 buses illegally parked on a six-acre wetland surrounded by mangroves. A day later, the civic body took cognisance of the complaints and removed the buses
In February, more than 300 buses parked in reclaimed wetlands along Link Road, Dahisar (West) were removed by joint action undertaken by the civic body and district collector
In November 2015, a wetland patch near Sarawasti Complex, Dahisar (East) was turned into a parking area for tourist buses. The members of New Link Road Residents’ Forum filed complaints with the police, revenue department and the civic body. However, no action was taken.