The Maharashtra Coas-tal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has blamed Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) for large-scale destruction of mangroves in the Sewri mudflats.
In an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court, it has stated the destruction of mangroves might have been caused by extremely low salinity and undetectable level of dissolved oxygen in water in the area, which was the result of construction of boundary walls by MbPT around small nullahs (rivulets) in the area.
Ashok Kumar Jha, member secretary of MCZMA, has filed the affidavit in response to a suo-motu proceeding based on reports in HT highlighting large-scale destruction of mangroves at Sewri bay, possibly due to leakage from thermal coal depots located on adjacent MbPT land.
Relying on a report of a joint inspection team, which visited the site in February 2012, he has added that the flow of saline water and supply of nutrients to mangroves appears to have been blocked because of the boundary walls and bunds constructed by MbPT.
The MCZMA has, however, opined that the destruction of mangroves could not be attributed to temporary storage of thermal coal in MbPT area, since their team found healthy mangroves around two of the four coal depots. The petition will come up next on May 8.