Vijay V Singh, Times News Network Apr 29 2017
Activists are fuming as trucks are dumping debris on an Oshiwara plot that is slowly, but surely, killing mangroves. The plot falls in a no-development zone (NDZ) where special permission is required from Union environment ministry for any construction activity. The Sahar group and a builder jointly own the plot.
“According to a Bombay high court order, all agencies concerned should cooperate to protect mangroves on the Oshiwara plot, but the forest department, revenue department and BMC are passing the buck. There is political interference at highest level…action should be taken against the guilty,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka
BMC officials admitted that they had received a complaint about the illegal dumping, but when they deployed clean-up marshals there for a few days, they did not find any such activities. “Now, we will put a check-post to keep a tab on such illegal activities,” said a senior civic official.
But Goenka claimed that posting clean-up marshals to curb illegal dumping is “a joke” as they don’t have powers to act against an organized syndicate that is destroying mangroves.
Following a probe, a Union environment ministry committee observed that large-scale mangrove destruction has taken place at the site since 1999 and suspended the environmental clearance. The ministry passed an order directing the state chief secretary to take necessary action, but till date no action has been taken. Environmentalists suspect a conspiracy behind the recent activities to reclaim the plot for development by dumping debris there.