In a significant and eco-friendly move, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has finally decided to act tough against illegal constructions cropping up on green zones in the twin-city which have been declared as “reserved forest area”.
An order passed by municipal commissioner Dilip Dhole has not only directed the concerned ward officials to remain vigilant, but also stated that the civic administration will not provide civic amenities like water, street lights, roads, sewage and even healthcare facilities to the illegally constructed settlements in the reserved forest area.
“Yes, orders have been issued to intensify vigilance to avoid further encroachments, if at all they spring up, the respective officer will face action. While civic amenities will not be provided from now on, we will seek government opinion to decide the fate of existing illegalities,” said Dhole.
Around 1036 hectares (more than 2500 acres) of mangrove belts in the twin-city have been declared as “reserve forest area”. The green land parcel has recently been transferred by the revenue department to the forest authorities via gazette notification published on 12 January 2021.
The classification process is a part of the forest department’s campaign to bring all mangrove forests in Maharashtra under the purview of section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA). Considered to be vote banks of local political leaders, thousands of illegal constructions especially slum clusters have mushroomed on such eco-sensitive land parcels in brazen violation of rules.
Notably, the move is in accordance with directions issued by the Bombay High Court to hand over all mangrove areas on state land to the forest department for better conservation and to improve protection of mangroves since they act as buffers during natural disasters such as tsunamis and cyclones.
The government land in revenue villages of the twin-city including Versova, Ghodbunder, Penkarpada, Navghar, Uttan, Tarodi, Chowk, Murdha, Rai and Bhayandar have been classified as reserve forests.