Thursday, February 02, 2023
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‘Methodical murder’ of mangroves ahead of transfer to Forest Dept

Greens cry foul as sea plants destroyed at Ulwe, Vashi, Kharghar

NatConnect Foundation

NAVI MUMBAI: Environmental lovers have raised concern over massive destruction of mangroves at Ulwe, Vashi and Kharghar and appealed to the High Court appointed Mangrove protection and Conservation Committee to intervene before the sea forests vanish pending their transfer to the Forest Department.

“This looks like an apparent, methodic, systematic conspiracy by land grabbers to destroy mangroves, dry up the area before the Forest department steps in,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation which has been receiving complaints of the destruction.

The destruction of appears to be picking up momentum as the Mangrove Committee has given a final deadline to Mumbai, Thane and Raigad district collectors and CIDCO to transfer unreserved mangroves under their respective jurisdiction to the Forest Department, following NatConnect’s complaints Kumar said.

In a Déjà vu of Vashi destruction wherein highway debris has been dumped on mangroves, construction waste and garbage is being dumped at Ulwe’s Sector-8, behind Delta Towers, environment lover Rajini V reported. “It is shocking as it is happening in full public view and no authority appears to bother,” she regretted.

In Uran end of Ulwe, environmentalist Nandakumar Pawar noticed large-scale destruction of mangroves in about a KM stretch at Gavan and another Kharkopar village.

This demonstrates once again that there is no respect for either the law or the High Court order as mangroves are being destroyed in village after village across Raigad district, Pawar said.

Activist Nareshchandra Singh, waging a relentless battle, said “the people of Kharghar cannot remain silent spectators to the destruction of mangroves in our area” as CIDCO and Panvel Municipal Corporation turn a blind eye to the land grab.

“We have made several complaints to all the concerned authorities who are sadly appear to be unconcerned, another Kharghar activist Tarang Sarin lamented.

Intermittently, mangroves are being killed with the help of drygrass in the periphery of the Navi Mumbai International Airport under construction, Shubhangi Tirodkar, a Belapur-based activist said.

As far as Vashi issue is convened, NatConnect has complained almost two years ago to the Mangrove Committee at whose instance the Thane District collector had an inspection done into the highway debris being dumped on the mangroves. The Forest department had a CCTV camera installed after an MCZA inspection was done. Yet, the mangrove destruction continued, Kumar said.

The Mangrove Committee directed Thane district collector to have PWD officials attend the panel meeting to explain its position as NatConnect said the debris over mangroves has been levelled to facilitate the road widening. PWD is yet to respond to comply with the directive and the complaint keeps appearing on the mangrove committee minutes, Kumar said.