Alarm raised over systematic destruction of mangroves in Maharashtra for land grab
Environmentalists have raised concerns over the massive destruction of mangroves at Ulwe and Kharghar in Raigad district and Vashi in Thane district of Maharashtra. They have appealed to the Bombay high court appointed mangrove protection and conservation committee to intervene before the sea forests vanish. The development comes before the mangroves’ land gets transferred to the forest department.
Navi Mumbai based environment protection organisation NatConnect Foundation alleged that the attempt to destroy the mangroves’ land appears to be systemic.
“This appears to be a methodical, systematic conspiracy by the land grabbers to destroy the mangroves, dry up the area before the forest department steps in,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation.
“The act of destruction of mangroves appears to be picking up momentum as the Mangrove committee has given a final deadline to Mumbai, Thane and Raigad district collectors and CIDCO to transfer unreserved mangroves under their respective jurisdiction to the forest department, following NatConnect’s complaints,” Kumar said.
While the Maharashtra government has notified 15,312 hectare (ha) as reserved forest under the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1,500 ha is yet to be transferred by the revenue department to the forest department for better protection as per the directives of the Bombay high court in September 2018.
Additionally, state agencies need to hand over approximately 2,000 ha of green land in their possession. With an idea to get undeclared mangroves under protection, agencies such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) have to demarcate, identify and transfer mangrove areas under their jurisdiction, first to the revenue department, which will then verify their submissions and transfer the areas to the forest department.
Indicating illegal activities like dumping debris on mangroves’ land at a few other places of Navi Mumbai, like Ulwe sector 8, environment lover Rajini V said, “It is shocking as it is happening in (the) public view and no authority appears to bother.”
Complaints of a large scale destruction of mangroves in a one kilometre stretch at Gavan and another in Kharkopar village have also been made by environment enthusiasts.
“This demonstrates that there is no respect for either the law or the high court order as mangroves are being destroyed in village after village across Raigad district, environmentalist Nandakumar Pawar said.
Activist Nareshchandra Singh urged Kharghar residents not to remain silent spectators to the destruction of mangroves in the area. CIDCO and Panvel Municipal Corporation have turned a blind eye to the land grab, alleged Singh.
“We have made several complaints to all the concerned authorities who are sadly appearing to be unconcerned,” said another Kharghar activist Tarang Sarin.
Belapur-based activists also alleged that intermittently, mangroves are being killed with the help of dry grass in the periphery of the under construction Navi Mumbai International Airport.
At least eight migrant labourers were crushed to death, while six others were grievously injured, when an iron rod-loaded truck in which they were travelling met with a major accident on NH-57 on Monday morning. Confirming the deaths, sub-divisional police officer SK Saroj said the labourers, all residents of Rajasthan, were heading to Jammu from Siliguri in West Bengal when the driver lost control and toppled on the roadside.
The Delhi fire control room received at least 20 calls until 9 am on Monday related to the uprooting of trees and wall collapses because of the heavy rain and gusty winds. The calls were received from places such as Delhi Cantonment, Civil Lines, Main Rohtak Road, and Dhaula Khan. The rains and the gusty winds up to 70 km per hour also led to traffic jams in many parts of the city.
The traffic police advised people to avoid stretches such as Narsinghpur area, Jharsa Crossing, Sector 29, Sector 38, Sector 50, Rajeev Chowk, Sheetla Mata Road, Civil Lines, Golf Course Extension Road, Vatika Chowk, Sector 52 and Daulatabad Flyover. “We have deployed teams, and are pumping out water through motors to ensure smooth flow of traffic, but congestions are being reported from many areas,” Ravinder Kumar Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) said, warning commuters to plan their journeys accordingly.
New Delhi: The heavy rain and gusty winds uprooted trees and led to water logging in Delhi on Monday and triggered power cuts across the city. The India Meteorological Department said thunderstorms were expected to continue in the city accompanied by gusty winds with a speed of 60-90 kilometre per hour. Officials urged residents, especially children, to stay away from electricity poles, sub-stations, transformers, and streetlights.
Delhi was much in need of a relief amid intense heatwave over the last few weeks and heavy rain and thunderstorms did just that. The mercury dropped by around 11 degrees Celsius in nearly 1.5 hours on Monday morning. “Today, between 5:40 am and 7 am, temperature fell by 11 degree Celsius, from 29 degree Celsius to 18 degree Celsius,” the India Meteorological Department said as per news agency ANI. Power blackouts were also reported.