The environmentalists’ demand for a dedicated Green Police to take care of environment related cases has moved a step further with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking the Home Ministry to look into it and take “further action.”
Citing the slow process of handling crimes against environment, particularly the killing of mangroves in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), three ecology-focused groups have appealed to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to set up a specialized Green Police.
There have been a series of violations of Bombay High Court orders and Environment and CRZ Acts but the authorities have not been able to take any action other than merely filing first information reports (FIRs), the missive to the CM from The Nature Connect, Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan and Watchdog Foundation said.
“We have received an e-mail response from the Chief Minister himself stating that the suggestion for Green Police has been referred to the Home Department for further action,” said activist B N Kumar, director of The Nature Connect. The mail has been marked to Sunil Porwal, Additional Chief Secretary in the Home department.
A revenue-forest combine team has recorded several instances of wetland and mangrove destruction in NMSEZ and JNPT SEZ areas in Uran. Plus, and there have been a series of mysterious forest fires about which the officials do not have any clues and hence could not take any action, Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, said.
Mangroves are under attack even in Chembur forest, he said.
The Bombay High Court appointed Mangrove Conservation and Monitoring Committee has been recording evidence of several violations and asking the district administrations to act. There has been, however, no action against the violators. The local police force is woefully inadequate to handle environment act violations as they are hard-pressed with other crimes, which is why the idea of a Green Police has been mooted, Kumar said.
“Green Police should also be empowered to handle mining violations and plundering of hills such as Parsik and Uran, in violation of the permissions given,” said Adv Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation.