Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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CM moves as Panje wetland continues to choke

Govt orders flouted by Raigad Collector, NMSEZ for the fourth month, say greens


NatConnect Foundation

Even four months after State Environment Director Narendra Toke’s order to clear blockade of water flow Panje wetland continues to choke, environment activists pointed out.

MUMBAI: Acting on a series of complaints from environmentalists, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has once again asked the environment department to check continued violations at Panje in Uran rendering the wetland dry for more than four months.

Even four months after State Environment Director Narendra Toke’s order to clear blockade of water flow Panje wetland continues to choke, environment activists pointed out.

The CM’s response came on Monday and we expected some action, but it is sad that nothing has happened and even today the wetland continues to choke with the blocking of all the five water inlets, said B N Kumar, Director of NatConnect Foundation.

“During a video call on last Friday in another case, we pointed out Toke that the situation at Panje is grim as all the five tidal water inlets continue to be blocked and intermittent landfill goes on despite the ban on construction by Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray,” said Kumar.

Please check: Beware of Himalayan scale disaster in Uran

Toke had on November 11 asked Raigad Collector to have the water inlets cleared and remove the illegal security cabins built by Navi Mumbai SEZ. In fact, the order explicitly told NMSEZ to clear the illegally built security cabins.

CIDCO has opened the sluice gates that it built at Panje, but the water still cannot enter the wetland as the inlets have been blocked by vested interests, said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

It is not difficult to imagine the vested interests, said Pawar, and pointed out that the city planner CIDCO itself is hand-in-gloves with NMSEZ in trying to bury Panje wetland. CIDCO has itself drawn development plan for Dronagiri node, covering Panje wetland as sector-16 to 28. This despite the State Government owned corporation earmarking Panje as a holding pond as part of flood control mechanism.

The authorities, including the Raigad Collector, do not seem to care for Government orders, the environmentalists informed Thackerays.

What is more, the Bombay High Court appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee asked CIDCO and Raigad Collector to maintain Panje as wetland and even the State Mangrove cell asked for handing over the place to it for conservation.

But who cares, asked the activists.