With no action against illegal sand mining and destruction of mangroves near Mumbra creek, activists are now demanding an inquiry against the collector and Tehsildar of the district.
Arif Iraqi and activist from Mumbra had recently complained to Harsh Vardan, minister of environment, forest and climate change and other senior officials including director coastal zone regulations, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, the chief secretary, the divisional commissioner, Konkan Division, The Thane collector, The Commissioner of Police, Thane and Tahsildar of Thane.
Iraqi in his complaint, requested for initiating a disciplinary enquiry against the collector and Tehsildar of the Thane district for not taking any action against illegal sand mining and thereby abetting the destruction of mangroves and environment of Mumbra creek at Reti Bunder, Thane.
Iraqi claims, during the pandemic and lockdown, the illegal activities at the creek were on high. "In last two years, I had been complaining frequently about the illegal dredging of sand expanding day by day but no action is been initiated by the local authorities. It had been noticed that various lands having mangroves had disappeared from the map due to illegal sand mining. With no action from the authorities, it indicates the hand in gloves nature of the authorities," added Iraqi.
Iraqi, who had filed a PIL in the high court in 2015 regarding similar such destruction of mangroves in nearby areas said, "If the authorities don't take any action, I will again be a force to file a PIL. Even after the court order that the destruction of mangroves will not be permitted, the authorities are still turning an eye over the issue. Are they scared of the reti (sand) mafia or have they been paid up?" he added.
Iraqi further said the illegal sand mining is disturbing the underlying soil characteristics and of the river bed and creek. "It is also disturbing the turbidity, velocity and flow pattern of the river water. It is further risking the railway bridge as well as the residential areas across the river basin or creek," he added.
Iraqi said that the complete lockdown of the sand mining was done day and night. "After a complaint, they just make a visit seizing some parts and it starts the same again," added Iraqi.
Yuvraj Bangar, Tehsildar, Thane denied the allegation claiming they have regularly taken action against illegal sand mining.
"In the past few months, we have taken 9 to 10 cases. Also, we have provided details regarding the action for the assemble section," added Bangar.
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