Sonali Telang, The Asian Age, 4 October 2018
It may prevent tidal water to reach the mangroves.
Environmentalists have raised concerns over the construction of a concrete gate at the Panje wetlands in Uran district, the last surviving patch of mangroves in the district. It was only last week discovered that amid the dense patches of mangroves, sluice gates have been installed which may prevent tidal water to reach the mangroves and pave the way for further reclamation.
Aishwarya Sridhar, maker of the documentary- ‘Panje, The Last Wetland’, highlighting the need to preserve the wetland, found out that the work of installing the sluice gates is underway. “How can something like this be constructed near wetlands and mangroves? If this obstructs the flow of tidal water to the mangroves, they will get dried up and become more prone to reclamation,” said Ms Sridhar.
Locals at Uran claimed that the Panje wetland is highly rich in terms of fish catch. Fishermen community in Uran has also written to the Konk-an Wetland Grievances Redressal Committee (KWGRC) about the matter. “CIDCO is openly violating CRZ notification 1991, wetland rule 2013 and recent Bombay high court order 2018. Panje is the last remaining wetland, which is also breeding and fishing areas for local fishing community. CIDCO has already reclaimed 289 hectares of fishing areas-pond no.1 at Boripakhadi-Mulekhand, 237 hectares at Panje, Punde – Dongri holding pond no.2. This is done by blocking of tidal water flow, sluice gate mechanism and constructing concrete wall around it,” read the letter by Nandkumar Pawar, head of the fishermen community.
However, CIDCO has denied the allegations. “We were unaware of the sluice gates being erected at the site, now we have directed our officials to investigate the matter,” said a CIDCO official. The mangrove cell too has taken cognisance of the issue.