Ten months after 2,000 mangroves were destroyed at Dharma Nagar, Borivli, officials from MHB police station filed an FIR in the matter on Monday evening. According to officers from the MHB police station, the case was filed against unidentified persons.
“After carrying out investigations for over three months, we observed a violation under the Environment Protection Act where mangrove trees had been destroyed. After the revenue department and the collector’s office also confirmed the case, we filed an FIR on Monday,” said ACP Sudhakar Pujari, Borivli division.
He added, “All other cases of wetland destruction are being investigated and strict action will be taken for any violations observed.” HT had reported on May 5 last year that mangrove vegetation spread over two-and-a-half-acres in Dharma Nagar, Borivli (West) were destroyed.
Members from the New Link Road Residents’ Forum (NLRRF), a citizen group that was conducting a nature trail in the area, close to the Gorai creek had found the destroyed mangroves and filed a complaint with the local police, state mangrove cell and revenue officers. The state mangrove cell submitted a panchnama to the revenue department, following which circle officers began investigations in June.
“Officers from the revenue department and the collector’s office, Mumbai suburban, had been working on the case for 10 months. After all facts were checked and a serious violation was observed, we wrote to the police to take immediate action,” said Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka.
Residents of the area were critical about the late response from law enforcers. “While the action by the police is welcome, the FIR has been delayed by almost a year. Prompt action by authorities will create deterrence for future violation. If these environmental violations are made a cognisable offence, then police should be given authority to take suo motu action,” said Harish Pandey, secretary, NLRRF.