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Sand dredging, reclamation wiping out Thane mangroves

Despite reminders, state environment dept is yet to act, but revenue officials say police report filed in the case.
Hindustan Times | By Nikhil M Ghanekar, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 03, 2012 01:12 AM IST

For the last three months, reclamation alongside the Thane creek near Kasheli bridge, Thane (west) has been systematically causing damage to the wetlands and mangroves.

“Sand dredging and reclamation is occurring in broad daylight at the Kasheli mangroves. I have sent two-three reminders to the state environment department about this, but other than acknowledging the complaint, the activities continue,” said Stalin D, project director, Vanashakti, non-government organisation.

Last year, on November 19, he had filed a complaint with the state environment secretary and divisional commissioner, Konkan division about mangrove destruction against orders of the Bombay high court (HC).

On the left side of the south Kasheli bridge on the Thane-Bhiwandi road, wetlands have been reclaimed to create pathways for trucks that ply sand extracted from the creek. Mounds of debris have also been dumped on the mangroves.

This has led to wiping out of habitats for migratory and resident birds.

The state environment secretary, Valsa Nair Singh had replied to Stalin D’s letter on December 3, saying, “I have brought your complaint to the notice of the divisional commissioner who is the nodal officer as nominated by the Honourable high court to deal with the mangrove destruction. This will also be placed in the forthcoming MCZMA (Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority) meeting for review”.

When HT contacted Singh on Thursday, she said, “We have referred the matter to the Thane municipal corporation and are yet to hear from them."

Officials of the revenue department said an FIR had been lodged: “We acted upon Vanashakti’s complaint and after the Tehsildar, Bhiwandi division investigation the matter, an FIR was lodged against two unidentified truck drivers,” said Vijay Warange, Naik Tehsildar, revenue department.

Narpoli police station refused to divulge any details about the case but also did not deny that such a case had been lodged.

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