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Stop reclamation of Versova mangroves, take action in 15 days: Collector to BMC, cops

1,000 tonnes of debris dumped on 10-acre mangrove patch at Yari Road; district administration asks BMC, police to remove debris, take action to stop illegal reclamation of land.

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2018 12:33 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Versova mangroves,debris dumping
On July 19, HT had reported that citizens caught two tempo trucks dumping garbage and debris at the mangroves on Wednesday, and informed the forest department and local police.

Two days after Versova residents complained about 1,000 tonnes of debris dumped on a 10-acre mangrove patch at Yari Road, the Mumbai suburban district administration issued letters to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), police and, excise and forest department to take action to stop illegal reclamation of land.

The BMC has been asked to remove debris, Versova police to find the culprits, the excise department to investigate if illegal alcohol distillation units were functioning inside the forest and the state mangrove cell to investigate whether trees have been cut.

The action comes a day after residents and members of ‘Yari Road Bachao’ group met the suburban collector Sachin Kurve.

“I have directed the revenue officer, Andheri, to ensure that the matter is resolved in 15 days. Based on reports from different departments, action will be initiated,” said Kurve.

On July 19, HT had reported that citizens caught two tempo trucks dumping garbage and debris at the mangroves on Wednesday, and informed the forest department and local police. “Our group has met all departments that can help us. We also approached the Versova police to book the contractor responsible for making the mangroves a garbage dump,” said Suneet Gandhi, a resident.

The revenue officer’s report revealed that even after they destroyed illegal shanties, that had been built in the forest, in February and March, 16 structures have come up on the site.

“Apart from the demolition of new shanties, we have also asked for setting up of fences in this area. It is subject to Bombay HC permissions, but needs to be done at the earliest,” said Subhash Kakade, tehsildar, Andheri.

Satyanarayan Bajaj, deputy collector, Mumbai suburban, said, “We have already informed officers within the department to initiate a demolition drive. It will be done over the next 15 days.”

Police officials said, according to fresh guidelines from the Supreme Court, a district court needs to highlight the violation and direct them for further action.

“Once this happens, we can take necessary steps to book the accused in environment-related cases. We have, however, filed a punchnama regarding Wednesday’s incident,” said Ravindra Badgujar, senior police inspector, Versova police station.

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 12:31 IST