A few days after the civic body demolished 1,410 shanties at Ganpat Patil Nagar in Dahisar (West), it has now written to the state forest department to ensure security and protection of the area as it falls within 50 metres of mangroves.
A Bombay high court order in 2005 banned construction within 50m of mangrove cover.
Even though the civic body has dug trenches and created a boundary, slums have again started to appear in the area that was cleared out.
Civic officials said since hutments posed a threat to mangroves, it was up to the state forest department to keep the area free from encroachments.
“We cleared the area as per the boundaries marked by the forest department officials. Henceforth, it is also up to them to protect the area and ensure that it remains encroachment-free,” said Santoshkumar Dhonde, assistant municipal commissioner, R-north ward.
Environmentalists, however, said the state forest department won’t be able to do much because of a manpower crunch, “The BMC’s decision might not help as the forest department does not have adequate staff to ensure protection of mangroves,” said Rishi Aggarwal, environmentalist.
“We have been appealing to the forest department to make separate budgetary provisions to recruit adequate trained forest security guards. There should be more focus on critical areas such as Ganpat Patil Nagar where efforts need to be taken to restore the depleting mangrove cover,” said Aggarwal.
On Monday, residents claimed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation undertook another demolition drive in area where the hutments had reappeared, but civic officials did not confirm the action.