100-acre wetland in Mumbai becomes dumpyard as construction debris piles up

The complainants have satellite images of the site, indicating illegal reclamation of wetlands, banned by Bombay HC in 2012.
By Badri Chatterjee | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON DEC 24, 2017 11:25 PM IST

A 100-acre wetland patch near VK Krishna Menon College in Bhandup has become a dumping ground for construction debris, according to a complaint filed by citizens’ group Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP) with the suburban collector, mangrove cell and civic body on Sunday.

The complainants have satellite images of the site, indicating illegal reclamation of wetlands, banned by Bombay HC in 2012.

The complainant told HT that the land belongs to the state government and used to have saltpans. “Last year, salt manufacturing work stopped at the site, and vested interests eyed this area for private development. The private party also filed a petition in Bombay HC and SC to acquire the land. The matter was dismissed by HC and SC is yet to hear it,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP.

He said the high tide water channels, which bring sea water to sustain mangrove trees, had been cut off at the site, and domestic waste from a nearby nullah is being discharged at the wetland site. “We request state government to construct barricades and stop the dumping.”

HT had reported in November this year that destruction of wetlands in state will now attract a penalty and state will confiscate land for those failing to pay penalty, under the new guidelines issued by HC-appointed wetlands grievance redressal committee.

JR Gowda, member secretary of the committee and deputy conservator of forest, state mangrove cell said he took cognisance of the complaint, and the area was a protected wetland.

“We have directed our officers to investigate the site.”

Officials from collector’s office said, the sub-divisional officer had been asked to submit details of an on-ground survey. “If there is violation on government land, strict action will be taken,” a senior official from the district collector’s office told HT.

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