Mangrove Judgement: Welcome move, but expected more, say environmentalists

Mumbai: City environmentalists and activists have welcomed the Bombay High Court’s decision after it prohibited chopping and destroying mangroves in Maharashtra. It has also directed the state to form a committee which will preserve, restore and maintain the mangrove cover.  The HC also stated destruction of mangroves violates the fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and it is the state’s duty to protect it. The court further stated apart from the fundamental rights, it is also the fundamental duty of citizens to protect mangroves.

Environmentalists are happy with the move but they expected more from the decision. “It was a much-awaited decision. For the future, it is a good move since there won’t be other bodies involved in environment matters. However, we are a little dissapointed because the court could have asked all the development authorities to continue development in the city with minimum destruction of mangroves and without reclaiming land. That should have come in black and white,” said Stalin Dayanand, director of non-government organisation Vanashakti.

Stalin added that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ‘always’ gave permissions for construction near mangrove areas and ‘then’ the proposal used to go to the Environment department. “This ruthlessness will stop after the decision and even the previous permissions will come under this ruling,” he stated.  Zoru Bhatena, a tree activist, said it is a welcome move and much-needed protection from the HC. “The decision gives a shade in this tree matter. But the question is– will our government authorities obey and implement these orders? Or will they just continue chopping away at any excuse?” he added.

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