No permission for hacking mangroves in Mira-Bhayandar: Bombay high court

Shibu Thomas, Times News Network, June 7 2017

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The Bombay high court on Wednesday stepped in to protect around 2.85 lakh square metres of mangroves that would have been affected by the Mira-Bhayandar¬†municipal corporation’s plans to clean 12 creeks in the area.

A division bench of Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Anant Badar declined permission to the MBMC to hack mangroves in the 12 creeks. The MBMC had claimed that the mangroves need to be hacked to remove debris, garbage and plastic bags in the 12 creeks. The mangroves were obstructing civic work to clear plastic, they claimed.

The court said that in unavoidable circumstances the corporation could trim the mangroves. In case some mangroves need to be removed then they had to be marked and MBMC would have to submit a report before the court, the bench added. Advocate Shreya Parikh, counsel for Bombay Environmental Action Group and activist Debi Goenka, said that the organisation would assist the corporation officials.
The bench referred to the importance of mangroves especially in acting as natural flood control mechanism. They cited the examples of Colombo during the Tsunami in 2004 and Mumbai during the July 2005 deluge.

In October 2005, the HC while hearing a petition by BEAG had banned the hacking of mangroves as well the dumping of debris on mangrove plots. Subsequently, it had said that permission of the court would have to be sought in case of public utility and development works that had to be carried out in mangrove areas.

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