Mumbai civic body aims to remove 3,200 illegal structures at Charkop mangroves in two days
Mumbai city news: BMC officials said notices had been issued to residents of the shanties over the past two months.mumbai Updated: Jun 02, 2017 01:19 IST
he district collector’s office ordered that 3,200 encroachments, mostly shanties, be removed from the mangroves in Charkop, Kandivli, by Saturday as part of a mangrove restoration programme. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the BMC and forest department demolished 427 structures at Ambojwadi in Malwani. On Thursday, 123 structures were removed from Charkop.
The encroachments were identified and reported by Reji Abraham, environmental activist and member of the state government’s committee to protect and conserve mangroves.
“This is one of the largest demolition drives for mangrove patches on private land,” said Babasaheb Pardhe, sub-divisional officer (SDO), Mumbai suburban. “After the activist highlighted the violations, we carried out our own survey and found some structures were less than 50m away from mangrove trees.”
The destruction of mangroves across the state and construction within 50m of mangrove areas was banned by the Bombay high court in 2005. HT reported last month that more than 20 acres (8 hectares) of mangrove forests had been destroyed through debris dumping at Charkop in the past seven years, with 3,000 shanties and private property constructed on both government and private-owned mangrove forests.
BMC officials said notices had been issued to residents of the shanties over the past two months. “Some residents approached the court and got a stay. However, most of the area will be cleared by Saturday,” said Sahebrao Gaikwad, ward officer, R-South.
He added,“We will decide where the debris needs to be dumped after the demolition.”
Pardhe added that the forest department had been given the responsibility of restoring mangroves in the areas reclaimed from encroachers. “We have asked the BMC to remove the debris in the next 10 days and the forest department to plant mangrove saplings right after that. The patch will be completely restored by next year,” he said.
There are 5,000 illegal structures, says activist
The complainant who first identified the illegal structures at Charkop said that there were close to 5,000 structures and not what the officials claimed. Also, he said that while the collector was present at the Malwani demolitions, hardly any officers were there for the removal of encroachments from Charkop. “At an environmentally sensitive area like this, the BMC should have issued notices highlighting that the structures are in coastal regulation zone (CRZ) I. The courts would not have granted stay to any of the residents. With mala fide intentions, the authorities are protecting these residents and preventing the proper demolition purposely,” said Reji Abraham, environmental activist and member of the state government’s committee to protect and conserve mangroves.
Encroachments removed from mangrove patches before monsoon so far
-Between May 7 and 31: Encroachments at 5 locations spread across 11 hectares – Chedda Nagar in Chembur, Wadala, Chitta Camp in Trombay, Marwe and Vashi
-May 6: Four-day demolition drive at Cuffe Parade saw the removal of 1,296 illegal structures from a 7.6- hectare reserved mangrove area
-April 24: 216 illegal structures – 30 commercial establishments and 186 shanties – were removed from a three hectare mangrove patch on reserved forest area at Charkop, Kandivli.