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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Police keep tab on Panje, restrict visitors citing security concerns

mumbai Updated: Oct 20, 2019 01:12 IST
Hindustantimes
         

A photographer, who has been a regular to Panje wetland in Uran, was stopped by a security official on Friday and was not allowed to enter the green zone.

The security officials, deployed by City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), have even warned photographers of entering the area forcibly. A police complaint would be lodged and they might be arrested, they said.

Parag Gharat, a Dongri resident, activist and a bird photographer, said, “I have been going to Panje wetland in Uran for photography for the past one year. I have also accompanied many tourists and officials. But, this action is uncalled for.”

Gharat said he was a local and frequents the area. “I got a call from a constable saying that I may be arrested if I enter the area.”

No notice has been put up around Panje wetland on the new rule.

Pramod Jadhav, senior police inspector, Nhava Sheva police station, said, “This is first time that we are taking such measures and it is being done for the security purpose. It is easy for anybody to enter from the sea route. We are just being alert. Those who wish to go there for photography can give a letter to the police and they would be allowed in.”

“While we were alert for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, we have also been asked to be vigilant as important installations like Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC), Armory station, power station and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) are near Uran,” he added.

The villagers and fishermen nearby have been asked to be alert and report any suspicious activity to the police station.

Pramod Patil, nodal officer environment, Cidco, said, “The security officials have been deployed for safety of visitors. We have already given them a letter not to stop anybody from venturing if they have come for photography or visit the area.”

“Only fishing and swimming is not allowed because there have been accidents. Police might have taken this measure for safety reason but there is no curb on photography,’ said Patil.

“There was a complaint that BNHS team was stopped but after that I had given instructions to the guards not to stop anybody. The guards were confusion hence it happened,” he added.

On Saturday, when Gharat met the police as directed, they gave him a letter allowing him to enter the area and also take photos.

Till last year, Cidco had deployed security guards from June to October. This year, guards have been deployed for the entire year.

Winter birds will start arriving at the wetland next month and there would be a beeline of photographers.

Panje wetland is spread over 100 hectares and situated along Dongri, Funde and Panje villages. The wetland is around 3km from Nhava Sheva police station and 25.8km from Panvel.

Uran is around the 10km radius of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport.

Anish Patil, 46 a photographer who often visits Panje, said, “The area is a nature lover’s paradise. Instead of warning visitors, the cops should handle them in a friendly way.”