Mira Bhayander: Forest officials to inspect presence of mangrove in creeks to clear pre monsoon desilting hurdles

In response to MBMC’s request, the mangrove cell of the forest department will inspect nullah’s and creeks which have a large presence of mangroves

Suresh GolaniUpdated: Thursday, May 19, 2022, 06:50 PM IST
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Stung by FIR’s registered against officials under the Environment Protection Act, the sanitation wing of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) is treading cautiously before embarking on the pre-monsoon de-silting project in creeks owing to the presence of dense mangrove cover.

In response to MBMC’s request, the mangrove cell of the forest department will inspect nullah’s and creeks which have a large presence of mangroves. “The inspection is scheduled for Friday, Based on the observations, the mangrove cell will issue guidelines following which we will pass necessary instructions to the contractor for the de-silting operations.” said additional civic chief- Dr. Sambhaji Panpatte. There are a total of 155 major and minor nullahs in the twin-city which measure up to more than 240 km’s.

With 31, May as the deadline, MBMC claims to have completed 90% 0f the de-silting work. However, the MBMC-appointed contractual companies have been expressing helplessness to clean some of major water bodies including two major creeks- Jhaffery (Mira Road), Murdha and Rai in Bhayandar due to the presence of dense mangrove cover. These creeks are crucial outlets that protect the twin-city from possible floods. Choked with sludge, debris and muck, the creeks pose a serious threat of flooding in low-lying areas, especially during high tides.

At some spots their trimming and relocation are inevitable, officials said. Mayor- Jyotsna Hasnale also visited the de-silting sites on Thursday.In 2019, the High Court had directed the civic body to clean the nullahs without harming the mangroves. According to environmentalist, to say that hacking mangroves is a flood prevention measure is itself misleading. Mangroves are not only the natural barriers against floods, they protect the shoreline from soil erosion. It has been alleged that the MBMC is playing blind to debris being dumped by developers and mushrooming of slums clusters- most encroached alongside the nullahs leading to accumulation of garbage and blockage to waterways. Destruction of mangrove attracts stringent punishment under the Environment Protection Act.

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