In the third case of mangrove destruction reported within 15 days, around 2,000 trees were hacked on a wetland spread over two-and-a-half-acres in Dharma Nagar, Borivli (West).
Locals approached the police on Monday, after which they visited the spot and drew up a panchnama.
“We visited the site and took pictures of the area. Based on our investigations, an intimation will be made to the tehsildar’s office and further investigations will be taken up,” said Ashok Sawant, inspector, MHB police station, Borivli.
New Link Road Residents’ Forum (NLRRF), a citizen group, was conducting a nature trail in the area, close to the Gorai creek, when they stumbled upon the destroyed mangroves.
HT visited the spot on Monday and found the branches of the trees were finely cut, which can only be possible by the use of heavy machinery.
“Mechanical saws have been used to chop the entire patch of mangroves within a span of a few hours. This was done probably around a month ago, for construction purposes,” said Harish Pandey, the secretary of NLRF.
“This is the biggest incident of mangrove destruction in the past couple of years. Our slow criminal justice system and indifferent administrative authorities are responsible for such blatant violations of environmental regulations,” he said.
The tehsildar office will send officials to the spot on Tuesady, Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka said. “Local residents have informed us about the tree hacking. Along with officials from the mangrove cell, our circle officer will visit the site on Tuesday,” he said.
The state mangrove cell said officials will be sent to the spot to verify whether the area falls under forestland, public property or is privately owned. “On the basis of our investigation, we will take strict action against those destroying the trees,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests mangrove cell, Mumbai.