BMC fails Mumbai's mangroves: Encroachments come back despite being removed

Illegal structures come up within two months of the BMC and forest department demolishing more than 300 encroachments in the area

The Bombay High Court had ordered that there should be no constructions within a 50-metre radius of the mangrove forest
The Bombay High Court had ordered that there should be no constructions within a 50-metre radius of the mangrove forest

It seems that the Mangroves Cell and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are in no mood to save the city's mangrove forest, as within two months of removing 300 illegal structures from its vicinity, another 25 hutments have come up in the area.

Structures demolished
After the civic body issued a notice for removing the illegal structures in April, the drive was conducted along with the forest department in the first week of July. More than 300 encroachments were removed from a patch near Charkop village in Charkop sector 2 area. However, the district collector had ordered to remove about 3,200 illegal structures from the area.

Following the Bombay High Court order in 2005 that there should be no constructions within a 50-metre radius of the mangrove forest, an environmental activist had found out that the constructions near the patch were violating this rule. He also claimed that in the last 10 years, 120 acres of mangrove forest on private as well as government land in Charkop were destroyed by dumping debris and carrying out illegal constructions.

Joint exercise again
Speaking to mid-day, Sahebrao Gaikwad, BMC ward officer, said, "We have received information regarding the illegal structures that have come up again. We will soon write a letter to the suburban district collector's office and estate mangroves cell informing them about it. Post monsoon we will again start a joint demolition exercise in the area."

Environmentalist Reji Abraham, who has been fighting to save the mangroves, said, "The BMC and other government agencies did not take proper action against the hutments and hence, in two months, the encroachments have come up again." A senior official of the Mangroves Cell said, "The collector's office and BMC had conducted the demolition drive in July. They had demolished the structures that were within 50 metres of the mangrove patch."

300
Total number of encroachments removed in the previous drive

2005
The year when the Bombay High Court had passed the order

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