The Maharashtra government has decided to constitute a Mangrove Conservation Institution, a dedicated body for the conservation of mangroves across the state. In its budget presented on Friday, the government has allocated funds of Rs 115 crore as project cost for the constitution of the body. Environmentalists have praised the move saying that it will boost mangrove conservation.
This will be the first institution of its kind in the country for the conservation of mangroves, which will play an important role in the protection and conservation of ecologically sensitive zone.
State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in the budget presented for the 2016-17 declared that the state will set up Mangrove Conservation Institution. The body will be utilised for the purpose of mangrove conservation and to upgrade the lives of people residing along the coastline. It will also be used for promoting rearing of crab, oyster and mussel, Mungantiwar said.
“Generation of employment and allied business activities is possible through research and development in such areas. We will implement a special action plan for this purpose. This institution will be well equipped with the help allocation we have made in the budget,” said the finance minister.
So far, the state has a mangrove cell, headed by N Vasudevan, an Indian Forest Service officer, working for the conservation and protection of the mangroves and adhering to the Supreme Court orders issued time to time. Mangrove forest is spread over around 226 square km on the coastline of Maharashtra. This area houses many marine life and is rich in bio diversity.
D Stalin, an environmentalist from Vanashakti said that this is a positive step forward taken by the government. The mangrove cell was involved in protection work and was unable to dedicate resources specifically for conservation purposes.
“The cell was involved in day today work for protection of mangroves and other such initiatives. It was unable to hire scientists for research and development work thus far. With the move, all this can be done,” said Stalin “Mangrove conservation will certainly get a boost with the step.”