Even after the state mangrove cell highlighted destruction of wetlands at Dahisar in its report to the Bombay high court (HC) earlier this year, illegal reclamation and dumping continues, a residents’ group has found.
The New Link Road Residents’ Forum, a group from Dahisar, has written to the Borivli tehsildar and the MHB colony police station about encroachments and other violations of Wetlands Rules, 2010, and Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011 rampant in the area.
Illegal sand miners are using wetlands as sites to clean the sand, before packing them to be sent to markets across the city.
Residents also caught civil contractors digging up wetlands to lay electricity cables for a power company. When questioned by the MHB colony police officers, the workers could not produce documents to prove they had permissions to carry out civil work in the ecologically fragile area. The MHB colony police have filed a panchnama against the power company.
“Acting on the residents’ complaint, we visited the spot near Ganpat Patil Nagar galli no. 3 and 4 and found wetlands had been dug up. We also informed the R-north ward about it,” said Ashok Sawant, inspector, MHB colony police station.
Members of the residents’ forum said despite the HC’s orders to check illegal wetland reclamation, the collector’s office has not taken any action. The forum, along with a non-profit organisation Vanashakti, had filed a public interest litigation highlighting illegal wetland reclamation across Mumbai’s suburbs. “The spot was surveyed by the HC-appointed committee. Yet, the illegal activities continue,” said Harish Pandey, member of the residents’ forum.
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell, and head of the HC committee, said, “Based on our report, the collector’s office was asked to act against culprits destroying wetlands.”
Borivli tehsildar Prashanti Mane told HT, “We will follow up on the issue and send teams to site.”