Following allegations that constructions carried out by a private builder led to the destruction of a 25-acre stretch of mangroves, officials from the revenue, forest and police department inspected the area in Borivli on Tuesday.
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell, said, “Our officials, who went to the spot, found that the area came under private land. There could have been mangroves in the area but as the land is privately owned it comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification. Violation of this notification is not dealt with by the forest department. The revenue officials have to look into the matter.”
Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka, told HT that she needed to get information regarding the matter and refused to comment.
Harish Pandey, environmental activist and resident of Dahisar, who accompanied the officials to the site near Dharma Nagar, said, “We have consistently been following up with authorities to protect the last green pocket in the area. Neither the authorities nor the wrongdoers take the court order seriously. As a resident of the area, we are contemplating filing a contempt petition against the authorities and the builder.”
Through an order delivered in October 2005, the Bombay high court has given the mangroves on government land the status of ‘protected forests’ and that of ‘forests’ to the mangrove land under private ownership. As a result, the mangroves cannot be damaged.
Pandey said, “In November, the New Link Road Residents Forum had issued a legal notice to the local police and revenue department regarding similar reclamation of the wetland in Dahisar. Now, the same thing has happened in Borivli.”