A year on, state-appointed committee’s findings on wetlands awaited | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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A year on, state-appointed committee’s findings on wetlands awaited

Dec 19, 2023 09:27 PM IST

A State-constituted committee in Navi Mumbai has yet to file its findings on complaints about damage to wetlands, raising questions about its purpose. The committee was formed last year to investigate and make recommendations on the destruction of wetlands and mangroves. Activists are now seeking legal action due to ongoing destruction of mangroves and non-compliance with High Court orders.

Navi Mumbai

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More than 365 days have passed, the State-constituted committee is yet to file its findings on complaints raised about the damage caused to the city’s wetlands. Environmentalists are questioning the purpose of constituting special committees when there are no reports filed.

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In response to multiple complaints raised by activists from Navi Mumbai about destruction of wetlands and mangroves, Maharashtra government had formed a special committee last year to look into the issue and make recommendations to curb the environmental damage.

Complaints were about the alleged destruction of wetlands by City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) for developing a Golf Course in Nerul raised by Sunil Agarwal, Protection of coastal wetlands in sector 16, 17, 25 and 28 of Kharghar sought by Naresh Singh Chandra, damages caused to the mangroves adjacent to N.R.I complex in Seawoods highlighted by B.N Kumar and conserving the mangroves coming under the Mankoli flyover in Dombivli.

The State’s Environment and Climate Change Department had issued the circular about the nature of the committee and its role in addressing the grievances received. “This was not any regular committee formed at the local body level; instead the orders to not just probe, but also file a report were on a gazette document. As a complainant I should have been provided with a copy of the report, but it is going to be more than a year and there is nothing,” said the complainant Sunil Agarwal.

The eight-member committee was to look into each of the grievances raised and come to a conclusion and file the report in 30 days. The committee comprised members representing the wetlands authority, state coastal zone management authority, Navi Mumbai Municipal corporation (NMMC), District authorities, CIDCO, MIDC, Wetland experts and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). Accordingly the visit was undertaken in November 2022. “The report is supposed to either acknowledge the concerns raised or negate it, but there has been no communication at all. What is the point of constituting a committee when it provides no insight or results? “Questioned D Stalin.

Even as the Environment and Climate Change department secretary Chandrakant Vibhute said he will looking into the matter, activists are seeking further legal recourse. “The destruction of mangroves is going on even now with no fear of authorities. Even on Thursday such activities were observed and the coordinates to the location were shared with the concerned department to take cognizance. These are clear contempt of the High Court orders and this will certainly be brought before the bench,” said Agarwal.

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