Konkan commissioner orders enquiry into three mangrove destruction cases in Mumbai
HT had reported on March 7 that one of the committee members Reji Abraham had alleged that at least 22 hectares of mangroves between 2005 and 2018 across at two sites in Malad-Malwani and in Charkop.Updated: Apr 21, 2018 15:03 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) appointed mangrove redressal committee has ordered an enquiry into three mangrove destruction cases in Mumbai suburbs and directed that the investigation be completed within a month.
The details of the cases were discussed during the HC committee meeting on Thursday.
HT had reported on March 7 that one of the committee members Reji Abraham had alleged that at least 22 hectares of mangroves between 2005 and 2018 across at two sites in Malad-Malwani and in Charkop. The green cover lost is 15 times the area of Wankhede stadium (area: 1.48 hectares).
“Based on observations submitted by our member, we have directed all authorities concerned, including the civic body, mangrove cell and the collector’s office, to carry out independent investigation in each of the three cases. While cases have been booked in two of three cases, no violators have been pulled up so far. We will ensure that those who have violated the law are held accountable and that there is better deterrence,” said Jagdish Patil, Konkan commissioner and HC committee chairperson.
Abraham had alleged that debris was being dumped across a 14.2-hectare (ha) patch opposite the Indian Navy Station, Hamla, Marve Road, Malad (West). In the second and third case, debris was dumped across 6.25-ha and 1.5-ha patches behind Evershine Nagar, Malad (West) and Charkop village, Kandivli.
“We have directed the Mumbai police to file charge sheets in the cases where bookings have happened, and fencing, restoration of Charkop area and subsequently for other locations,” said Patil.
Abraham said the investigation had been going on for too long. “Until the directions are followed by the government bodies immediately, wetland and mangrove destruction will continue. This one month is crucial for the protection of the city’s green spaces,” he said.
The destruction of mangrove forests across the state and construction within 50m of mangrove areas was banned by the Bombay high court in 2005, after a public interest litigation (PIL) by the Bombay Environment Action Group. In 2014, based on a PIL filed by environment group Vanashakti, the HC banned reclamation and construction on wetlands.