Activists write to President, PM to save 53K mangrove trees in Maharashtra
On the occasion of World Forestry Day on Thursday, environmental groups wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting their intervention to protect 53,467 mangrove trees from destruction.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had cleared a proposal to cut 53,467 mangrove trees for the bullet train project.
On Monday, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) told the Bombay high court (HC) about MCZMA’s clearance for mangroves spread over 13.36 hectares (ha) area.
The groups, Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP), also requested the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to not clear the final proposal.
They have also launched a social media campaign, asking the NHSRCL to find an alternative route to the project, which will not involve the destruction of so many trees.
“The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) under the environment ministry has already given a green signal for the project to run in flamingo and leopard zones in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. How can the environment ministry permit environmental destruction,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP.
BN Kumar, director, Nature Connect, said, “The permissions come as a big blow to the city’s environment. Despite having experienced the marooning of Girgaum Chowpatty, the Mithi River flooding and the recent devastation in Kerala, we do not learn any lessons.”
When HT contacted NHSRCL, it refused to comment stating the matter was sub-judice. An MCZMA official however, pointed out that the final coastal zone management plan (CZMP) had to be prepared by the Centre before the project is finalised. The MoEFCC officials, responding to the letter, said all the environmental concerns will be weighed in while issuing clearance. “The NBWL has issued the clearance with several conditions. We will study the impact at all levels while considering the project,” an official said.
Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, said the city would have to plant five times the mangrove cover which will be lost.
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