Green activists from the city claim that the centre has asked the Maharashtra state wetland authority to look at Savarkhar wetland in Uran on a top priority basis. Activists had alleged violation of SEZ work at 22-hectare Savarkhar wetland. They have received a response from MoEF and CC to their complaints.
According to city bases activists, Dr M. Ramesh, Scientist 'E' -MoEF&CC has responded to complaints that the 22-hectare Savarkhar wetland is being buried despite the Uran Tahsildar identifying it as part of the 13 wetlands that he listed. “The officials have obviously failed to protect the wetlands identified by them,” claims NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar.
Dr Ramesh had earlier also asked the Government and the Wetland Authority to report on a priority on the action taken into the complaints. “In December, the revenue officials filed an FIR against an unidentified person following environmentalists’ complaint of the illegal reclamation which was stalled then. But the activity has been resumed again as if vengeance,” the environmental groups said.
Kumar further informed that Maharashtra Chief Minister on his part asked the Principal Environment Secretary Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar to check the complaints.
Later, the green groups NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan had pointed out in their e-mails to the Centre and the State about the alleged reclamation at Savarkhar wetland and they claimed the JNPT SEZ received the Environment Clearance (EC), but clearly without any reclamation. However, a massive reclamation of the 22-hectare Savarkhar wetland is in progress right now.
Drawing the governments’ attention to the EC, NatConnect Foundation director Kumar pointed out that the column on reclamation in the checklist in the amended Environment Clearance clearly says ‘No’. “It is pertinent to note that under the fresh Guidelines for implementing Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, even paddy fields, salt pans and lakes meant for fishing etc are to be conserved,” Kumar said. Now, Green groups have expressed happiness and expect a similar order in the protection of mangroves.