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BMC's Tree Authority wants control of mangroves

During a meeting with the state government officials, members of the Authority demanded that mangroves be handed over to the BMC, as the state forest department is unable to control rampant encroachment

The rampant encroachment and debris dumping on lands with mangroves has made it difficult for authorities to protect them at a local level. A member of the Tree Authority has, therefore, suggested that mangroves should now be brought under their jurisdiction as well.

BMC has received proposals to maintain mangroves in the past, but the forest department controls them. File pic
BMC has received proposals to maintain mangroves in the past, but the forest department controls them. File pic

At the Tree Authority meeting on Monday, forest department representatives of the state highlighted the issue of mangroves and members agreed that the need to maintain and preserve these trees has now become necessary. In the past, the BMC has received various proposals to maintain mangroves; presently, the controlling power is with the state forest department.

mid-day’s report on March 9
mid-day’s report on March 9

Authorities have demanded that mangroves should now also come under the Tree Authority, so that preventing encroachment and protecting them can be taken care of at a local level. Mangroves in the city have been depleting every day, with new buildings rising in the city.

Encroachments have been observed in areas like Gorai, Borivli, Dahisar, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup and Mulund. In the past, corporators have also raised concerns about the need for awareness and protecting mangroves by giving it a natural heritage site status. Such a proposal was forwarded to the civic body, but authorities are yet to refer it to the state government.

While the BMC has been spending crores of rupees on getting carbon credit by converting dumping grounds into greenery cells, mangroves, which provide 100 per cent carbon credit for free, are gradually depleting from the city.

“I have written to the Union Environment Minister to take a call on this issue. Mangroves are depleting in the city and without proper local governance, we cannot expect to find solutions,” said Niranjan Shetty, a member of the Tree Authority.

Another member, Shubha Raul, added, “We’ve been asking the BMC to take care of this issue for some time, but there has been no response from them if we should even send the heritage proposal to the state or not.”

Previous proposal
Sena corporator Sheetal Mhatre had received R15 lakh from the Mayor’s fund to create awareness about, and ensure protection of, mangroves in Dahisar (East).

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