Kamothe mangrove patch turns into dumpyard
Navi Mumbai: A patch of mangroves in Sector 18, Kamothe, has turned into a dumpyard of construction debris and trash. While the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) failed to barricade an approach road leading to the mangrove area or take up any measures to regulate disposal of construction waste, the Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC), which was supposed to conduct a plantation drive, has not initiated it till now.
According to a Bombay high court (HC) order, all mangroves in Maharashtra are declared as protected or reserved forests, including those on Cidco and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s lands, and destroying them is punishable by law. All mangroves come under the ambit Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-1 norms, and no construction or dumping is allowed near them.
Despite the HC order, Cidco, which gives permission for any construction work in the area under PCMC, has not formulated a policy on disposal of construction and demolition waste. The authority has also not taken up any measures to protect wetlands in the area. Although Cidco had put up a notice board stating no dumping or construction is allowed within a 50-metre buffer zone around the mangroves, HT found that the board has been removed.
This has led to mounds of garbage and construction debris in and around the mangrove patch. Residents of housing societies in the area said some people have also been burning garbage in the area. They said they have complained to PCMC and Cidco about the stench and the dumping, but it has not helped. Hitesh Devansh, 40, a resident from Bhoomi Jyot society, Sector 18, said, “A beautiful green area has been turned into a complete mess, all thanks to officials who choose to ignore the issue despite complaints. There is an urgent need to save the green patch, otherwise the day is not far when construction activity will start on the patch after it is levelled by dumping.”
Pramod Patil, nodal officer, forest and environment, Cidco said they were not aware of the notice board being removed from the mangrove area. “We will look into the issue…keep a check on the dumping and take necessary measures. The notice board would be installed again,” he said. Patil also said that as the area is under PCMC’s jurisdiction, they will ask the civic body to keep a check on the dumping. “We will ensure that garbage is being lifted and as the area comes under PCMC, we have asked the civic body to ensure that garbage is not dumped in the area.”
Prashant Rasal, additional commissioner PCMC said, “We had planned a plantation drive in the area, but an agency has yet not been finalised yet. We will finalise the agency soon and start the drive.”
Cidco had developed a garden near the mangrove patch, and the areas share a common boundary. However, the garden has also been turned into a dumpyard, said residents.
Rajesh Chandra, an environmentalist, said, “As a developing body, Cidco has failed to protect the wetlands across the city. The mangroves are important for our survival. The mangroves at Kamothe area spread across a wide area. If necessary measures are not taken on time, we will lose the green areas soon.”
KHARGHAR RESIDENTS ON GREEN MISSION
A group of Kharghar residents have started a movement to report destruction of the 1,471-acre of wetlands and mangroves to officials and follow up on the matter
The residents have even met police officers, who have ensured timely action. Police officers said such destruction cases can be reported by dialling 100