Land Sharks Behind Massive Fire On Kharghar Hill?

Vegetation free area ideal for picnics land grab

Environmentalists express concern over recurring fires

NAVI MUMBAI: A massive forest fire broke out on Wednesday night on Kharghar hill near the golf course and environmentalists said it could have destroyed a lot of greenery.

The residents were shocked to see the fire lasting pretty long.

Residents have been complaining for a long time about recurring fires on the hill with no visible action from any of the authorities, said NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar.

The area is inaccessible particularly during the night, Kumar said.

There could be mischief behind the fire as the top of the hill being flat is the destination for picnicking and partying, he said.

If unchecked, the area can be an ideal target for land grabbing, said activist Naresh Chandra Singh.

"We have been alerting the forest department and there seems to be confusion about the ownership issue,"  Singh said.

Some areas of the hill are controlled by CIDCO which allots patches for quarrying.

Singh said, ideally the entire hill range should be under the Forest Department.

There should be a proper inquiry into the frequent fires, said another Kharghar activist Jyoti Nadkarni.

There is quite a bit of wildlife in this biodiversity area which could be endangered due to these fires, Kumar said.