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Hand over all mangrove areas under Cidco to forest department immediately: HC-appointed panel

PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 09:13 PM IST

The Bombay high court (HC) appointed state wetland and mangrove panel has directed the City Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (Cidco) to hand over all mangrove areas under their jurisdiction to the forest department for better protection. Considering the latest case of 724 trees being hacked near Seawoods, Navi Mumbai, Cidco was also directed to stop any work carried out or proposed near already identified wetlands within its jurisdiction.

The decisions were taken during the committee’s 10th meeting on Thursday, which was appointed within a month after the Bombay high court (HC) ordered a blanket ban on mangrove destruction in the state on September 18, 2018. “Considering repeated cases of mangrove and wetland destruction in various areas of Navi Mumbai all the way up to Uran, the Konkan commissioner said this cannot continue and directed Cidco to transfer approximately 1,500 hectare mangrove forests to the state mangrove cell without any delay,” said Neenu Somraj, member secretary of the committee. “If Cidco fails to follow the order, the matter will be presented before the HC for further action.”

Cidco confirmed the development. “We have already informed our planning department about the committee direction. The hand over process has begun and mangrove zones under our jurisdiction are being identified. We have told the committee that as soon as the planning department completes the work, the handover will be done,” said Pramod Patil, nodal officer (environment), Cidco.

Other decisions by the committee on Thursday included the responsibility for restoration of degraded wetland sites where debris has been dumped along the Konkan coast needs to be completed by the planning authority of the area and further overseen by the district wetland and mangrove committee. “District committees have been directed to file compliance reports for mangrove and wetland destruction within the same month the complaint is received,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.

Stalin added that district administrations along Konkan were directed to identify vulnerable zones and install CCTV cameras for better vigilance. “The Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre will be asked to provide updated satellite maps every six months to monitor the changes across all wetland zones,” he said.

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