Seawater from the Gorai Creek finally entered a mangrove patch at Dahisar on Wednesday after a portion of the 300m bund built in the area was broken following orders from the suburban district collector.
The move to restore the patch came after the three-month time period given to Kandivli-based Ravi Builders by the Supreme Court ended on May 1.
“One-fourth of the bund was demolished to allow seawater to flow into the vegetation,” said Nirmal Deshmukh, suburban collector. “It will take about a week to demolish the remaining bund and a month to complete restoration work,” he added.
Close to 60% of the mangroves died due to non-availability of seawater, said senior officials from the collector’s office monitoring the restoration work. “While the mangroves on the periphery are alive, those deep inside have died. One needs to study whether the mangroves were killed using chemicals,” said an official.
In January, the apex court had directed builder Jayesh Shah to restore the patch to its January 2010 condition within two months, failing which the collector would restore them and recover the money from the builder. But two days before the deadline, the builder got a month’s extension from the apex court, which ended on May 1. “During this time, rather than opening bunds, the builder erected a 60m bund that was broken because of tidal action,” said Debi Goenka of the Bombay Environment Action Group.
“The collector’s office accomplished in 100 minutes what the builder could not in 100 days,” said Harish Pandey of the New Link Road Residents’ Forum. On Wednesday, the SC dismissed the contempt affidavit filed by the builder against the collector.