Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Mangrove massacre @ Karanja terminal

Greens call for high-level probe

NatConnect Foundation

The mangrove destruction has been resulting in burial of breeding grounds of fish, said Dilip Koli of Paaramparik Machhimaar Bachao Kruti Samiti.

NAVI MUMBAI: Environmentalists are up in arms against the massive destruction of mangroves at Karanja Terminal in Uran taluka and have complained to the High Court appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee.

“This is a serious issue and calls for a high-level investigation since vast stretches have been cleared of mangroves,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. He sent photographs of the damage to the Mangrove committee

Uran Samaajik Sanstha chairman Sudhakar Patil said at least seven huge bundles of mangroves have been dumped in the deep sea. “We have been raising our voice against the landfill which is affecting the flow of creek water and the availability of fish,” he said.

According to the Karanja Terminal website, the site is being operated by Mercantile Ports and Logistics (MPL) which was established to develop, own and operate port and logistics facilities in India.

“Its maiden project is the development of a world class multipurpose terminal and logistics facility at Karanja creek in the Raigad District of Maharashtra.The port is being developed over 200 acres of land with a sea frontage of 1,000 metres at Karanja Creek,” the website says.

Uran Tehsildar Bhausaheb Andhare has ordered a joint inspection of the site by forest and revenue officials, following complaints. The inspection report will be submitted soon, said Range Forest Officer Sashank Kadam who estimated that about 50 mangrove plants have been chopped.

“This is gross underestimate,” Patil said and pointed out that anyone can see the bald patches and assess the loss.

These inspections appear to an eye wash and even in recent cases of mangrove destruction, the cases have been filed against unidentified people which has no meaning, argued Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Partrishtan.

“This is exactly why, we are pressing for a high level, independent investigation,” Kumar  pointed out.

In this context, both Kumar and Pawar have requested the State government to immediately transfer all mangrove forests in Uran and other parts of Raigad district to the Forest department for conservation as per the High Court order of September 2018.  “Till then, the destruction will continue since there is no authority to check the miscreants,” Kumar said.

The destruction of mangroves has been resulting in burial of breeding grounds of fish on which the local fishing community survives, said Dilip Koli of Paaramparik Machhimaar Bachao Kruti Samiti.