Five days after the first inspection of the Dahisar mangroves on the directives of the Supreme Court, principal judge of the sessions court, ML Tahilyani visited the site again on Wednesday to prepare a factual ground report.
Walking around the 430-acre mangrove land adjoining the Gorai creek along with a 50-member team, justice Tahilyani got the city survey officer to measure the dimensions of the two new bunds that have been built by a Kandivli-based builder, Ravi Builders, and dictated his observation on the alleged blocking of the flow of seawater.
The visit coincided with the high tide that would enable him to check for sea water intrusion into the mangroves.
Wednesday’s visit was unlike justice Tahilyani’s first visit on December 3 when he only assessed the alleged destruction of the green patches.
Justice Tahilyani visited the site in connection with a case where a builder began repairs of a bund defunct since 1993, on April 10, 2009 following a Supreme Court ruling in his favour. The ruling had directed the petitioner not to destroy the mangroves. However, local residents alleged that under
the guise of repairing the bund, two new bunds were built.
As a result, there has been no flow of fresh seawater into the mangroves, leading to their death in stagnant water. They also alleged about 20 acres of mangroves have been destroyed.
“We feel the report will be incremental and justice will be delivered,” said Harish Pandey of New Link Road Residents Forum.
Apart from a first-hand view of the mangrove destruction around the periphery of the creek, justice Tahilyani also took an aerial view of the area from a terrace of an adjoining building.
The surveys are being conducted on directives passed by the apex court in the last week of November, when it set aside a contempt notice filed by the builder against the collector’s stop work notice. The Supreme Court also directed the city civil court judge to conduct an inspection on the alleged destruction of the Dahisar mangroves.
Justice Tahilyani will submit a report to the SC by December 13 and the matter will be heard on December 15. A 2005 Bombay High Court ruling banned destruction of mangroves. The Bombay Environmental Action Group has also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court regarding the alleged destruction of Dahisar mangroves.
Till date, six police complaints have been filed under the Environmental Protection Act against the destruction of the Dahisar mangroves.