Social activist from Thane, Yogesh Mundhara has written to the forest department pointing out the alleged destruction of over 500 mangrove trees near Dutt Mandir at Kasheli visarjan ghat in Kalher, Bhiwandi.
In his letter, Mundhara has said that excavators are being used to uproot the trees and nearly 100 trucks of debris are being dumped in the area every day to choke any further growth. “Mangroves stabilise the coastline, control erosion and provide habitat conducive for plant and animal species, they prevent floods and filter the groundwater,” he said in the letter, alleging that over one-acre patch has been destroyed.
Destruction of mangroves banned across Maharashtra
The Bombay High Court banned the destruction of mangroves across Maharashtra and construction within 50mt of coastal areas in 2005. In 2014, the court banned reclamation and construction on wetlands. Despite the ban, the forest department is turning a blind eye to these violations, he said.
'Over 100 acres of land reclaimed'
Mundhara said, “More than 100 acres of land has been reclaimed for illegal construction in Kalher, which is an ecologically sensitive zone. As a result, flooding and waterlogging have become regular features here. Moreover, the land mafia has no fear of the administration and is taking unauthorised possession of forest land for illegal construction.”
The activist has requested the forest department to urgently look into the matter and take strict action and book everyone responsible under the Environment Protection Act and Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966.
An officer from the forest department on condition of anonymity said, “We will seriously look into the matter and accordingly take action against the land mafia.”
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)