A week after Yari Road residents’ protest, officials from the Mumbai suburban collectorate and civic officers cleared the illegal shanties and debris dumped in the Versova mangroves.
State environment minister Ramdas Kadam and Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray on Friday visited the spot for the second time, to ensure the orders issued by Kadam’s department to the civic body and Mumbai suburban collector to stop illegal reclamation of mangrove land are complied with.
Thackeray said they plan to take measures such as fencing of wetlands, allowing the flow of sea water into mangroves, along with strict vigilance, to protect mangroves. “Destruction of mangroves is happening across the city. We will make sure the perpetrators are punished. We will visit the spot in two weeks to ensure the rules are not flouted,” said Thackeray, addressing residents and the media.
Kadam said surprise checks would be conducted at spot where there is a threat to wetlands or where destruction of mangroves is being carried out.
Residents are happy with the action, but are worried that the hutments will come up again. “The challenge is to remove encroachers from the area as they return a few days after the demolition. We requested the minister to check these violations by enforcing tighter regulations,” said Shashi Ranjan, president, New Yari Road Residents’ Association.
Officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) marked the entire plot on Friday, so the area could be fenced. “We have restored the channel for adequate water supply to the mangroves that the violators had choked,” said Parag Masurkar, assistant municipal commissioner, K-West ward.
Civic officials said the process of clearing the debris and would be completed next week.
“Currently, we have one excavator at the site. We will be providing more machinery if required,” said Masurkar.
Shekhar Channe, collector, Mumbai suburban, said, “Acting on the directives by the state environment minister, we demolished around 120 illegal hutments in the mangroves.”
SENA CHIEF TO VISIT DROUGHT-HIT AREAS
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, along with MP Anil Desai and state transport minister Diwakar Raote and other senior leaders, will visit three drought-affected districts in the state -- Parbhani, Nanded and Jalna -- on Sunday. Thackeray will meet farmers and distribute cash along with essential items such as food grain to farmers.