Embankment repairs threaten Dahisar mangroves | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Embankment repairs threaten Dahisar mangroves

mumbai Updated: Apr 15, 2010 01:15 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Soubhik Mitra
Hindustan Times
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Repairs on a dilapidated bund is threatening a 60-acre mangrove stretch in Dahisar.

On Wednesday, local environment activists found trucks dumping mud, stones and concrete debris along the edges of mangrove area. The debris will block the flow of seawater to the mangroves leading to its destruction.

“When we confronted the truck drivers, they said they had the collector’s permission,” said David Soosay, a resident and activist with the New Link Road Residents’ Association.

The activists could not verify if the drivers were telling the truth because the collector’s office was shut on Wednesday for a public holiday.

On April 10, a company owned by Krishnadevi Khamatia began repairs on the bund, which is unused since 1993, after the Supreme Court ruled in its favour.

Though the ruling allowing repairs on the embankment, it also directed the petitioner not to destroy the mangroves.

Hindustan Times has a copy of the Supreme Court ruling.

“We have photographs of debris being dumped on the vegetation. It is a violation of the Supreme Court order,” said Dr Mathew Samuels, a local activist.

In 2005, the Bombay High Court had banned destruction of mangroves.

Bombay Environmental Action Group, an NGO, has approached the Supreme Court regarding Kamathia’s company violating its order.

The SC will hear the appeal on April 26.

Despite several attempts, Collector Vishwas Patil was not available for comment.

“I will ask the collector and the local police to take action right away,” said Valsa Nair, environment secretary.

The state government has been mulling over a mangrove protection policy.

According to the final draft issued by the environment ministry, the government wants to create special squads, comprising officials from the forest, revenue and the collector’s office, at police stations to protect mangrove areas. When asked about its status, Nair said: “The draft note has gone for opinions from other relevant department.”