Nth time violation of Environment Dept order to keep water flow undisturbed, says greens
NAVI MUMBAI: Ahead of the beaver moon as the tide rises, Panje wetland remains dry with the blocking of intertidal water flow from the Arabian Sea by vested interests, environmentalists said.
"This is the nth time that the 289-hectare intertidal wetland was rendered dry obviously to sabotage the flight of migratory birds,” said NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar.
And it is the umpteenth violation of Environment Director Narendra Toke’s order to Raigad District Collector, NMSEZ and CIDCO to ensure that the wager flow is not disturbed since it is a CRZ1 area, Kumar pointed out quoting the order dated November 11, 2020.
NatConnect drew the attention of Toke to the fresh violation and he is also the member secretary of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). Unfortunately, MCZMA does not have the machinery to enforce its own orders and it relies more on the district administration, Kumar said and complained to the sub-divisional officer who is supposed to be the man in-charge on the ground.
Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan too wrote to the Chief Minister and the Raigad district collector once again pointing out repeated attacks on biodiversity at Panje. Once full of water, Panje is usually a source of good fish and crabs, apart from being the destination of a variety of species of local and migratory birds.
Even CIDCO recently admitted in a document submitted to Bombay High Court that Panje is a fishing zone
The drying up of the wetland obviously makes it inhabitable for the birds which survive on small fish and algae and this is nothing but continuous sabotage by vested interests, Pawar said.
Citing an earlier instance, Pawar regretted that the authorities have failed to take any action despite solid proof presented against NMSEZ employees bursting fire crackers to chase away the migratory birds. Even the Mangrove Cell has written to the revenue officials to ensure that the birds landing at Panje, some of which are on the list of threatened species, are not disturbed in any way, Pawar said.
BNHS, Mangrove Cell and environmentalists are all keen to save Panje, a conservation property to maintain the fragile ecology of Uran, but CIDCO leased it out to NMSEZ, Kumar and Pawar said.