Maharashtra: You are only interested in removing the mangroves, Bombay HC raps civic body in Thane

Vidya РEdited by Kritika Banerjee, India Today, June 13 2017

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The Bombay High Court had asked the municipal corporation to conduct a survey on how many mangroves need to be cut to clean up the area ahead of the monsoon.

The Bombay HC came down heavily on the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation.

The Bombay HC came down heavily on the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation. Photo for representation: Reuters

Coming down heavily on the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in Thane, the division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Mahesh Sonak of the Bombay High Court said that “MBMC is the only municipal corporation which is just interested in removing the mangroves so that the nallas can be concretised and unscrupulous builders can usurp that land”.

The Bombay High Court had asked the municipal corporation to conduct a survey on how many mangroves need to be cut to clean up the area ahead of the monsoon.

The Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), through its advocate Aniruddh Garg, told the court today that tenders would have to be floated and an expert agency appointed and only then a survey could be conducted.

According to the municipal corporation, the entire procedure would take nearly five-six months. “It will defeat the entire purpose of cleaning up (the area) as the monsoon is nearly here,” said advocate Garg.

At this, Justice Kanade said, “Garbage couldn’t have been dumped overnight. For all these years you have turned a blind eye to the garbage and debris being dumped, and suddenly after all these years you want to clean up the nallas?”

HOW THE CASE HAS PROGRESSED

On May 19, the corporation had filed an application seeking permission to cut the mangroves in the MBMC area to remove the garbage and debris in the creeks.

On June 7, the Bombay High Court gave a go-ahead to the corporation to trim the mangroves and asked it to conduct a survey on how many mangroves need to be cut to clear the area of garbage.

In the courtroom, the Bombay Environmental Action Group today opposed the cutting of mangroves and its advocate suggested that the MBMC can clean up the area the way Mumbai cleans the Mithi river using a poclain machine mounted on a barge.

Advocate Jyoti Chavan, representing the Maharashtra government, pointed out that the entire MBMC area does not have a sewage disposal plan nor does it have a solid waste management system. “Probably the only municipal corporation in the state which does not have a waste disposal plan in place,” advocate Chavan said.

Given the issue of flooding in the area, the division bench of the Bombay High Court asked the municipal corporation to see to it that only dead mangroves are removed while cleaning the area.

The Bombay High Court will again hear the case on June 19 when an official of the MBMC has to provide details of the work done so far

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