Even as the forest department maintains that it has been patrolling the mangroves at Mahul village, fresh dumping activity has been witnessed in the area since Tuesday, claim fishermen.
Similar to the incident that occurred last month, after which the forest department started the patrolling, fishermen from the village have claimed that 45-50 trucks are being used to dump oil sludge at a neighbouring spot.
"The dumping had stopped for the last three weeks. But, on Tuesday night, the dumpers started coming again. Instead of using the road passing through the Mahul SRA complex, they used an adjacent road. They have dumped oil sludge on the mangrove swamp," said Rajesh Koli (name changed) "The trucks venture into the wetlands and have crushed several aerial roots of mangroves. The sludge has already uprooted several trees," he said.
This is the second instance of dumping on the mangroves behind the Mahul SRA complex.
The damaged mangrove swamps are part of 40 hectares of mangrove forests, notified by the state forest department.
Last month, Hindustan Times had reported how oil sludge and a mound of debris had been dumped on mangroves at two different spots in the village. The state forest department's mangrove cell had collected samples of oil sludge from the site and had sent them for chemical analysis, the results of which are awaited.
When HT contacted the officers from the forest department, they said, "We have been patrolling the site, but as the area is large and manpower is scarce, patrolling cannot be done on a regular basis," said Suresh Varak, forester, Mumbai range.
"As the dumping has not yet stopped, we will carry out raids in the night from Friday," said Seema Adgaonkar, range forest officer, mangrove cell.