A BJP MLA of Maharashtra has been accused of killing 3.5 acres of mangroves to raise posh club. Narendra Mehta, BJP MLA was once mayor of Mira-Bhayandar municipality, and has been accused of altering Mira Road's landscape.
According to the DNA, Seven Eleven Club in Mira Road is allegedly built on 3.5 acres mangrove wetlands. The Seven Eleven Club's directors include Narendra Mehta, who owns a majority stake of 57.57% in the club, and his brother Vinod Mehta. The club is located in Kanakia Park in Mumbai's far suburb. Its construction began in 2015 and completed in 2018. In February this year, the owners threw a lavish inauguration party.
The local residents and environmentalists for near-decade alleging that authorities have not acted against the club. Activists also allege that the property has been raised after butchering a sizeable mangrove patch in Mira Road. They estimate the club to be worth Rs 500 crore. But BJP MLA Narendra Mehta has rubbished the charge. He told the DNA, “There have been no mangroves on the clubland since 2005. It's a false allegation that we cut mangroves to build a five-star club." He said that a circle officer had registered an FIR but the police didn't find any evidence in their preliminary investigation.
The circle officer who had registered one of the FIRs against the club directors told DNA, "We registered a case against the directors of Seven Eleven on May 15, 2018. They destroyed mangroves on the wetland and constructed a club on it. With the help of Google Maps and statements from the locals, we registered an offence under sections of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. We also instructed Mira Road police to take action. But nothing has been done so far."
Krishna Gupta, a local activist told DNA, "We have registered five FIRs from 2010 to 2018 against Vinod Mehta. They clearly mention that the club violated sections 15 and 17 of the Environment Protection Act. After all these years, the police say they are still investigating this matter."
This is not it, the issue was earlier raised in the state assembly also. NCP group leader Jayant Patil and Leader of the Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar were the two who raised the issue in the assembly. “The Seven Eleven Hotels Private Limited was granted land in a no-development zone to construct the hotel. This file, which clearly violated all rules and orders of the high court, was signed and cleared by CM Fadnavis, who is also the urban development minister. This is because one of the partners in the company owning the hotel is the brother of Narendra Mehta, the MLA from Mira-Bhayandar,” Patil charged in the assembly.