Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Greens SOS to CM as Panje mangroves are hacked

Call for declaring wetland as Bird Sanctuary to save it


NatConnect Foundation

“Mangrove care is equally, in fact more, important to save the coast and the people and the need to preserve biodiversity is being stressed by all – from the World Health Organisation to UNICEF to the Prime Minister,” Kumar said.  

NAVI MUMBAI: Even as the surveillance appear to have been eased a bit with the official machinery getting busy with COVID case, vested interests have begun chopping mangroves at Panje wetland, environmentalists alleged.

The green groups, therefore, requested the government to immediately declare Panje as Bird Sanctuary and protect it. Any further inaction due to the ongoing COVID care might cause an irreparable damage to the environment, they warned.

This is probably first time that mangroves are being cut at Panje where earlier attempts were made to bury the wetland.

NGOs NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan have dashed out an SOS mail Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray pointing out that despite the government’s efforts, Panje wetland has been under attack repeatedly.

“We have already cautioned you against such possibility of damage to the bio-diversity as the authorities could be busy with COVID care,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation.

“Mangrove care is equally, in fact more, important to save the coast and the people and the need to preserve biodiversity is being stressed by all – from the World Health Organisation to UNICEF to the Prime Minister,” Kumar said.  

The environmentalists sent photographic evidence of the latest damage saying “this is nothing short of being criminal and it is happening in broad day light

This is happening even as Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray ordered halt to construction at Panje and the High Court appointed Mangrove Committee asked CIDCO to preserve the area. MCZMA has itself submitted to High Court that said Panje comes under CRZ-1, said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

“Now the latest act of chopping of mangroves in the middle of the wetland amply proves that this is CRZ-1 area,” Pawar said.

Pawar pointed out that the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary Management Plan-2020-30 has recently covered six wetlands including Belpada, Bhendkhal, Pagote, Panje and Talawe under its satellite wetland management and conservation plan. This Plan clearly shows the damage done to wetlands in Uran.

This plan was drawn on the basis of a detailed, scientific study by BNHS, as pointed out by Additional Chief Conservator of Forests Virendra Tiwari.

BNHS has also raised its worries against destruction of wetlands, including Panje,  around NMIA and clearly warned of impending bird hits to flights in and out of Navi Mumbai International Airport.

Earlier, NatConnect Foundation said in its letter to the Chief Minister: “There seems to be an all-out and multi-pronged approach to gobble up the Panje wetland which is ironically earmarked by CIDCO as holding pond to save the upcoming Dronagiri node from floods.”The latest disturbing development is that JNPT proposed to build a seawall on the northern side of Panje, touching the Sector-20, Kumar added.