Repair sea bunds to prevent Palghar village from drowning: HC to state
The direction was given in response to a petition filed by fishing villages and environment group Vanashakti, alleging threat to life and livelihood because an existing bund in Dandepada, that blocked seawater ingress, had not been repaired.Updated: Oct 10, 2018 00:16 IST
The Bombay High Court (HC) asked the state government to repair existing bunds near Satpati village in Palghar where 350 homes were inundated by seawater in July.
The direction was given in response to a petition filed by fishing villages and environment group Vanashakti, alleging threat to life and livelihood because an existing bund in Dandepada, that blocked seawater ingress, had not been repaired.
Though the Satpati gram panchayat and two fishing groups — Satpati Machimar Vividha Karyakari and Satpati Fishermen’s Sarvodaya — had requested the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority to construct new bunds, permission was not granted for the project, forcing the villagers to go the HC.
The HC’s order to the state on Tuesday to repair the bunds is a short-term measure. Long-term measures will be discussed during hearings scheduled in coming months.
The state environment department, which is the first respondent in the matter, said they will be issuing directions to the harbour engineer to initiate repair work. “If coastal regulation zone clearances are needed, as per court directions, we will be issuing them,” said Anil Diggikar, principal secretary, state environment department.
“Inaction by the state has already resulted in mass destruction of settlements, and even now the threat continues,” said Vaibhav Hareshwar Patil, deputy sarpanch of the village. “Seawater enters more than 100m inside the settlement, damaging everything that comes in its way. We are completely left at the mercy of the tide.”
Satpati is a coastal village, inhabited by 35,000 people, surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. Of the total 5,317 houses there, 350 were waterlogged during heavy rainfall and high tide on July 14 this year.
“The village is safe for now. However, the rate at which coastal wetlands and mangroves are being reclaimed in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region along with the looming threat of sea level rise, long-term actions need to be looked in advance before next monsoon season,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti.