Army club issued notice over debris dumping in Colaba
The Mumbai city district administration on Wednesday directed the Sagar Matha Club in Navy Nagar, Colaba, which is owned by the Indian Army, to stop all debris and stone dumping activities in intertidal areas, citing environmental violations.
Army officials have also been directed to explain why debris dumping was carried out less than 50m from mangroves near the club. The stop-work notice mentions a violation of sections of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms as the intertidal area falls in CRZ1(a): Area that is “ecologically-sensitive and has geomorphological features which play a role in maintaining the integrity of the coast”.
“Officers from the Sagar Matha Club have 15 days to respond, failing which follow-up action will be taken,” said Shivaji Jondhale, Mumbai city collector and district magistrate. “We have issued a stay on any further work and will soon be directing the police to register a first information report [FIR].”
HT first highlighted the violation on April 18. Subsequently, both, the mangrove cell and the district administration initiated separate investigations and confirmed the violations. “Our officers submitted a report that clearly showed construction had been carried out in the buffer zone between the club premises and mangrove trees,” said Jondhale. The mangrove cell report also highlighted the same.
The Indian Army did not issue an official statement, but an officer from Sagar Matha Club confirmed that they have received the notice. “Four letters have already been issued telling government organisations, including the district administration and mangrove cell, that defence land was getting eroded and flooding had become a cause for concern,” the officer said. “We built chain link fences after levelling a portion to prevent erosion. The intertidal area has not been touched at all.”