Activists raise alarm over illegal chesnut farming in Nerul wetland
Nerul Despite a High Court order directing that no encroachment should be allowed near the Lotus Lake, environmental activists say that illegal chestnut farming has once again cropped its head in the wetland in Sector 27 of Nerul and have urged the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to take immediate action
Despite a High Court order directing that no encroachment should be allowed near the Lotus Lake, environmental activists say that illegal chestnut farming has once again
cropped its head in the wetland in Sector 27 of Nerul and have urged the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to take immediate action.
The wetland, spread over three hectares, is an idyllic spot for blooming lotuses and activists have spotted local farmers preparing to resume chestnut farming in the lake. “After much resistance from residents and activists the illegal farming activity within the pond was brought to a halt after an FIR lodged by NMMC. As a result, the original flora fauna of the pond was gradually getting restored. But it has come to our notice that there are fresh attempts to clean the pond so as to resume the illegal farming of chestnuts,” said a resident and advocate Pradeep Patole.
Multiple mails and even messages have been shared on social media asking NMMC to abide by its statement given to the High Court of preventing any form of encroachment in and around the lake. A Public Interest Litigation filed in 2021 to protect the wetland from getting encroached is being heard by the HC. “The NMMC is duty bound to ensure that the wetland is preserved, in fact the civic body has assured the court that in the event of any encroachment in the vicinity of the lake, necessary steps would be taken,” said Patole.
Activists allege that failure of NMMC to take cognizance of their concern will lead to extensive damage to the lake’s ecosystem. In 2021, the activists had even got the PH level of the pond tested. “We have been putting in so much effort to conserve the little natural reserves of the city, Lotus Lake is one of them. For farming of chestnuts, farmers are known to use chemical fertilizers besides this variant of plant is known to form thick mat which further obstructs light into the pond and thereby adding to further damage of the pond,” said an environmental activist, Dharmesh Barai.
When contacted, Deputy Municipal Commissioner D Chabukswar assured that he will into the concerns raised by the activists. “I will ask the concerned ward office to conduct a site visit and take necessary action,” he said.