mid-day impact: One held for killing Malad's mangroves

Taking serious note of mid-day’s report about the illegal dumping activity that had wiped out 1.5 acres of mangroves there, the authorities have put an end to it and ordered a probe

A day after mid-day highlighted how rampant debris dumping had wiped out 1.5 acres of mangroves in Malad in just three days, the authorities took swift action and put an end to the illegal activity, arresting one person for his alleged involvement in the crime.

“On the same day the story appeared in the newspaper, the Forest Department officials were immediately sent to the spot where the dumping was taking place. That area is in the jurisdiction of the collector; our officials informed the collector’s office and an FIR was lodged with the police,” said Forest Secretary Vikas Kharge, who was asked to look into the matter by Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar after assuring mid-day immediate action would be taken.

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Locals took pictures of the heavy machinery being used to clear the mangroves in the area and uploaded some of them online in protest

On Monday, this paper had run a front-page report on the 1.5-acre stretch of mangroves that was destroyed at Evershine Nagar at the same spot where a road has been planned in the BMC’s Development Plan (‘Road in DP eats up Malad mangroves in three days flat’). The road had not received clearance from the Environment Ministry and the BMC had not authorised the removal of the mangroves from there.

Taking serious note of the story, the Bangur Nagar police arrested Angad Chaurasia, who they say was allegedly dumping construction debris at the spot. He was booked under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

An official from the Bangur Nagar Police station said, “The tehsildar filed an FIR with our police station regarding the illegal dumping of debris in the mangroves behind Evershine Nagar in Malad West. We have arrested one Angad Chaurasia for dumping the debris there.”

No dumping
Locals said dumping had completely ceased at the mangroves since Monday evening. Activists alleged, however, that the authorities were slow to take action, despite repeated complaints from local residents.

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“Ideally the police should have taken action immediately and filed an FIR against those who were seen destroying the mangroves by dumping there. Why is it that the police always wait for something to first get published in newspapers before they register a complaint?” asked environmentalist Stalin Dayanand, from the NGO Vanashakti.

Local resident and activist, Shariq Raza, who was among those who had complained about the issue, said, “Mangroves are ecologically very important and it is the job of everyone to protect them. Had the tehsildar or the BMC ward office been more active, the destruction caused to the mangroves could have been avoided. The authorities should now investigate the matter and catch those who are destroying the mangroves.”

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