Shibu Thomas, Times News Network, March 23 2018
MUMBAI: Twelve years after its interim protective orders to save mangroves, the Bombay high court will pass its final orders in the matter. A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla on Thursday reserved its judgement on the PIL filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG). Since the landmark October 2005 order, the state said it has notified over 15,087 hectares of mangrove land in the seven coastal districts as “reserved forests” and replanted mangroves on over 541 hectares of land.
The October 2005 order had banned destruction of mangroves, dumping of debris on mangrove lands.
In an affidavit, Milind Pandit, divisional forest officer, Mumbai Mangrove Unit, said that since the court orders the government’s “multi-pronged action had led to a substantial increase in the mangrove cover of the state”. Pandit pointed out that the mangrove cover, which had remained stagnant between 2005-2013 at 181 sq km had increased to 304 sq km.