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State stalls Dahisar embankment repair

Environment ministry tells collector to stop work until it reviews proposal and gives green signal.

mumbai Updated: Apr 23, 2010 00:45 IST
Soubhik Mitra
Soubhik Mitra
Hindustan Times

The state government stalled the repairs on an embankment (bund) threatening to usurp a thick lush patch of mangroves at Dahisar on Wednesday.

Since April 14, Hindustan Times has been reporting how the builders of the bund have been dumping truckloads of construction debris on the vegetation. The debris would block the seawater from entering the shrubs, thereby destroying the mangroves.

The state environment ministry on Wednesday directed the collector to stall the construction work. “We will review the proposal of the bund repair at the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority. Till then, no construction work would be allowed,” said Valsa Nair Singh, state environment secretary.

Before the state’s intervention, workers continued dumping debris on the middle of the 60 acres of mangrove stretch, citing a clearance from the collector’s office.

“They have almost created a wide road in the middle of mangroves in the guise of building a bund,” said Mathew Samuels, chairman of the New Link Road Resident Forum, a social organisation. Repairs of the bund began last week after the Supreme Court allowed construction activity for two months.

The SC permission clearly mentioned that destruction of mangroves was not allowed.

Despite several complaints from the environmentalists, it took more than a week for the state machinery to stall the work. The state environment ministry had asked the collector and police to take action, but the authorities did not act. The state has been mulling over a mangrove protection policy for a while.

According to the final draft issued by the environment ministry, the state wants to create special squads, comprising officials from forest, revenue and the collector’s office, at police stations to curb the menace.

The draft note is awaiting a feedback from other government departments.

First Published: Apr 23, 2010 00:42 IST