Ayesha Arvind, Hindustan Times, June 20 2017
Mumbai city news: Activists alleged that mangroves had not merely been trimmed but cleared.
The Bombay high court directed the state forest department on Monday to appoint a “high ranking official” to supervise all pre-monsoon cleaning work carried out by the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) and to ensure that no mangroves are cleared without the court’s permission.
A bench of Justices VM Kanade and A M Badar had earlier permitted the corporation to “trim” the mangroves if they were obstructing its annual pre-monsoon cleaning operations of the water bodies and stormwater drains. At the time, the bench had granted MBMC a week’s time to complete the work.
The corporation had approached the court seeking permission to clear a part of the mangroves spread across 2,85,000 sq metre in the Mira-Bhayander area claiming that they were obstructing their work of clearing sludge and debris dumped in the drains and water bodies.
On Monday, it informed the court that though the week-long deadline was over, it had completed the cleaning work for only two out of the 12 stormwater drains in the area and sought additional time. The corporation also told the court that it had trimmed eight mangroves in the area.
Activists opposing the corporation’s plea to clear the mangroves submitted some photographs in the court alleging that mangroves had not merely been trimmed but cleared.
The bench then directed the forest department to supervise the corporation’s work and submit a compliance report in court. It also asked the police and the civic authorities to ensure that real estate developers in the area do not dump construction debris into the drains and water bodies.