MUMBAI: After an official from Lokayukta, anti-corruption cell, inspected a bus parking lot created from illegally reclaimed mangroves i n Dahisar, the police ar rested t he plot’s owner. The Lokayukta inspection revealed that although mangroves were destroyed in a large area, no police investigation was taken even though an FIR was filed.
HT had reported on May 6 that residents from Saraswati Complex, Dahisar (East), and the local corporator had complained about 25 buses parked on a six-acre plot that was created by destroying mangroves. A day later, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) got the buses moved from the site. On May 13, Lokayukta officials visited the wetland (in pic) to find out if the police, civic body and collector had investigated the matter.
Officials from Dahisar police told HT that they had arrested the 36-year-old land owner of the plot on Tuesday. “After conducting investigations, we arrested the accused under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The land owner was produced at a Borivli court, but was released on bail,” said Prashant Marde, assistant commissioner of police, Dahisar division.
Lokayukta ML Tahaliyani, who had visited the site, prepared and filed the report on May 16, which points out it was apparent that reclamation work was going on at the site for months, but no authority had taken preventive action.
“The FIR should have been registered against the person holding the property card. There appears to be total negligence on the part of authorities, which has led to such large-scale destruction of mangroves,” read his report. It also identified electricity supply, a borewell, luxury buses, temporary containers and cement, located at the wetland.
Environment activists said the police do not take suo-moto action against such violations. “The police were forced to make an arrest because of the Lokayukta’s intervention. We hope the police would be more proactive and take speedy action in such cases,” said Harish Pandey, secretary, New Link Road Residents’ Forum, which had originally filed the case in April last year.