Dahisar wetlands turns into parking lot for tourist buses again
Hundred tourist buses were found illegally parked near the mangroves and water body along the new link road in Dahisar on Sunday, more than a year after action was taken against a similar encroachment at the same spot.
Encroaching upon or destroying mangroves is illegal under the rules for wetlands and is also in violation of the orders issued by the Bombay high court to protect the green cover.
“A large number of mangrove trees and a water body have been destroyed to make way for these buses. The law, judiciary and government machinery are to blame for destruction of the wetland. Bus operators are profiting from it,” said Harish Pandey, secretary of New Link Road Residents’ Forum that filed a complaint with the police, civic body and state mangrove cell on Monday.
Taking note of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Bombay Environment Action Group in 2005, the Bombay high court (HC) banned destruction of mangroves and construction within their 50-m periphery. NGO Vanashakti filed another PIL in the HC in 2014, leading to a ban on reclamation and construction on wetlands.
In March 2016, HT had reported that 1,000 mangroves have been cut to create space to park tourist buses along the new link road between Dahisar and Borivli. In another report in October 2016, HT reported that while the buses have been removed, the district collector’s office has ordered an investigation into the incident.
According to officials from the mangrove cell, the site is a private land that falls under the jurisdiction of the district collector. Officials from the district collector’s office said they have directed an investigation into the matter. “We have ordered the Borivli tehsildar (revenue officer) to inspect the site and find out how buses were allowed to be parked there,” said Babasaheb Pardhe, sub-divisional officer (SDO), Mumbai suburban.
Archana Mule, tehsildar, Borivli, said, “With a hearing on a petition related to mangroves going on in the HC, the bench has directed all district administrations not to file cases directly with the police and submit their reports to the court instead. Our officers will visit the site on Tuesday. We will draft a panchnama on the alleged violation and submit it to the SDO. We will also check how the operators got the permission to park their vehicles in this area.”