The forest department has written to the chief conservator of forest (CCF), Thane, to seek permission from the state forest ministry to prosecute or take police action against the civic body under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
This move comes nearly two months after the forest department filed a preliminary offence report (POR) against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for damaging the mangroves at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground.
The BMC has consistently failed to explain the damage done to mangroves and has not taken appropriate remedial action so far, prompting the forest department, Thane territorial division, to send a letter to the Thane CCF last week.
“We have sent the BMC several reminders to increase the depth of the culverts at the dumping ground to allow seawater into the mangrove plots, to no avail. They have also not explained the damage to us in detail,” said Sudhir Padwale, assistant conservator of forest, Thane territorial division.
The letter sent to the CCF states, “To reduce the obstruction of seawater into mangrove plots, the depth of culverts needs to be increased. Also, the civic body should take note that the polluted water flowing into the mangrove plots can be lethal.”
The POR was filed after senior forest officials had visited the dumpsite along with Manesh Sangle, a member of the legislative assembly from Vikhroli and representatives of a non-governmental organisation who had complained to the forest department regarding the damage to the mangroves.
The POR had stated that about 75% mangroves in plot-A (12.09 hectare) had dried off and died while 60-70 mangroves in plot-B (11.27hectare) had died.
Officials from the BMC’s solid waste management department were unavailable for comment.