Maharashtra: Mangrove cell removes 450 illegal establishments on salt pan lands
The state mangrove cell on Tuesday removed around 450 illegal establishments in the mangrove area on salt pan lands in Nagwadi near Chheda Nagar in Chembur.
The mangrove cell has cleared up and restored around 1.5 hectare (ha) of mangroves in the area. The removal of establishments on the salt pan lands was a consequence of a complaint received by the state mangrove cell from the salt commission.
Neenu Somaraj, deputy conservator of forest (mangrove cell), said that joint action against illegal establishments was taken along with the salt department, police and local administrators. “The action was prompted by a complaint from the salt commission about encroachment on salt pan lands,” said Somaraj. The mangroves have been restored.
In 2005, in an interim order, the Bombay high court had said that all mangrove areas on government land were to be handed over to the state forest department. The high government reiterated its order on September 18, 2018. However, while district bodies are yet to hand over the 1,592.8 hectare area (ha), state agencies such as JNPT have failed to transfer approximately 1,147ha to the forest department under their jurisdiction.
In December last year, Vanashakti—a non-government organisation—had issued contempt notices to all Konkan district collectors, the Konkan divisional commissioner, and state agency Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) for failing to hand over mangrove land under their jurisdiction to the Maharashtra forest department. In January this year, Vanashakti filed a petition in the Bombay high court seeking immediate transfer of all mangrove lands to the forest department.