Mumbai: City environmentalists hail CM’s stand on saving mangroves; demand strict surveillance on conservation

NatConnect Foundation pointed out there is no system of surveillance or accountability for the so-called diversion of mangroves for bridges and roads.

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 03:47 PM IST
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Mumbai: City environmentalists hail CM’s stand on saving mangroves; demand strict surveillance on conservation | Amit Srivastava

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, while speaking at an event, on Tuesday July 26 said that mangroves must be protected to save the coasts from natural calamities.

Shinde was attending an event organised to mark International Mangrove Conservation Day.

Lauding his statement regarding mangroves, environmentalists wrote to him requesting the government to order a strict audit and surveillance of the sea plants being destroyed under the garb of infrastructure projects.

NatConnect Foundation, in a mail to Shinde, pointed out there is no system of surveillance or accountability for the so-called diversion of mangroves for bridges and roads.

"Even the compensatory afforestation is not trustworthy as terrestrial trees have been planted in lieu of mangroves destroyed," NatConnect director BN Kumar said citing information availed under the RTI Act.

"Despite the Bombay High Court’s last order nearly four years ago, thousands of mangroves are yet to be transferred to the Forest Department for conservation. For instance, the lush green mangroves on lands leased out to NMSEZ are yet to be accounted for. CIDCO allotted 1,250 hectares, dominated by Mangroves and wetlands, in ecologically sensitive Uran for NMSEZ which has been destroying nature," Kumar pointed out.

He also said that there are a series of cases where project proponents destroyed mangroves in Uran without environmental clearance.

The CM had during the event declared that conservation of mangroves will be completed within a year.

To this, Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, alleged that even a day's delay is detrimental to mangroves. He added that the priority should be accorded to the full protection of the mangroves regardless of the ownership of the land.

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis lauds Mangrove Cell

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis praised the Mangrove Cell of the Maharashtra Forest Department for playing an important role in the protection and conservation of mangroves.

The Mangrove Cell and Mangrove Foundation have made significant progress over the past ten years in a variety of areas, including the development of over 125 villages along the Konkan coast that are now earning over 85 lakh under livelihood schemes, especially during the trying times of Covid-19. In addition, nine eco-tourism villages have been developed along coastal Maharashtra for better mangrove conservation and habitat protection.

“The landmark order by the Bombay high court banning mangrove destruction and construction within 50m in 2005 and reiterated in 2018 combined with active efforts by the state mangrove cell since 2012, have all had a combined effect in ensuring mangroves are conserved. The increase in mangrove cover of Maharashtra is testimony to this,” said Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) and Executive Director of the Mangrove Foundation.

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