MSRDC destroying mangroves for Bandra-Versova sea link: Mumbai locals
Almost eight months after the project of a casting yard for the Metro-2B (DN Nagar-Mandale) line was moved out of Juhu Koliwada, a complaint has been filed against the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for destroying mangroves that were re-growing on the plot of land.
The patch is being used to make a casting yard for the Bandra-Versova sea link project where a preliminary survey for the project is being conducted. The 10-acre mangrove plot falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone 1. It is an ecologically sensitive area and a protected mangrove forest.
The complainant Zoru Bhatena, an activist, has filed the complaint with the divisional commissioner, Konkan division; chairman, mangrove cell; additional principal chief conservator of Forests, Mumbai mangrove cell and collector of Mumbai suburban district, among others.
“Earlier, the mangroves were destroyed when a casting yard was being made for the Metro. However, for the current project, the contractor has cut mangroves that grew after the Metro 2B project was stopped and levelled the land using sand so that there can be no further growth,” said Bhatena. He added that a letter addressed to the residents of Juhu Koliwada in October 2018, intimating them about the project, assured that no mangroves or forest area would be disturbed.
Officials from the MSRDC, however, denied the allegations. “The construction for casting yard has not begun; we are conducting a preliminary survey of the land. For that, as instructed by the forest department, we have kept a buffer zone of 50-60 meters between the activity of casting yard and mangroves. The leveling is being done beyond the buffer zone,” said Shankar Dote, chief engineer of the project.
Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, mangrove cell, said they were informed about the developments two days ago. “No mangroves have been destroyed and the 50-metre buffer zone is being maintained for the project,” said Ghodke.
Arvind Sane, secretary of Juhu Koliwada, said the locals had protested against the project coming up at the koliwada and had raised the issue with the MSRDC in August. However, their complaints went unheard, said Sane.
“In August, we showed them a court order that said that there cannot be any construction on the mangrove land. Despite the protest, they came with their JCB and dumpers and levelled the land where the mangroves were growing,” Sane added.
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