FIR against BMC contractor for dumping debris at Mumbai mangroves
RTI activist Santosh Daundkar spotted the illegal act last week and filed a complaint with the Mahim policemumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 20:18 IST
A contractor hired by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was caught dumping debris at mangroves along the Mahim creek under the guise of desilting. The storm water drains department suspended all work at the site after the police booked the contractor and field a first information report (FIR).
Right to Information (RTI) activist Santosh Daundkar spotted the illegal act last week and filed a complaint with the Mahim police. Investigation revealed that the contractor was violating environment laws. However, Daundkar filed another complaint on Wednesday claiming that the police had failed to action.
“The Mahim police did not register an FIR in the matter after I filed the first complaint. But they took action after corporator Milind Vaidya filed the same complaint. It was a clear case of negligence by the police for failing take immediate action against environmental violations,” said Daundkar. “There has been no follow-up response to my complaints.”
Vaidya said he ensured that senior BMC officials and the Mumbai police were taken to the spot. “When debris is dumped in this mangrove patch, it stops prevents sea water entering the mangroves during high tide, which ultimately kill the trees. Both parties took cognisance of my complaints,” he added.
Cops said they filed an FIR under section 15 of Environment Protection Act, 1986 (failure to comply with directions under the act), and section 20 and 20A of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (unlawful felling of trees).
“After a joint visit with the complainant and BMC officials, we ensured that the work was stopped at the site and asked the contractor to restore the site,” said a senior officer from Mahim police station.
BMC officials said a board will be installed at the site to identify future desilting work. “The debris was dumped on muddy patches inaccessible for our vehicles. But the contractor closed some of the channels for the high tide in the process. We have warned the contractor and asked him stop all work. Channels have been cleared and sea water is reaching the trees,” said Pramod Khedkar, deputy chief engineer, storm water drains department BMC.
Destruction of mangroves through debris dumping is illegal under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Bombay Environment Action Group, the Bombay high court banned destruction of mangrove forests across the state and construction within 50m of mangrove areas in 2005.