Mumbai: Babus look on as mangroves disappear

Nearly a month after mid-day reported about illegal encroachments making a comeback and threatening mangroves barely 100 metres away from the collector’s office in Bandra, no action has been taken; in fact, more huts have come up

When mid-day had reported about encroachments making a comeback and threatening mangroves right under the collector’s nose in Bandra’s Dnyaneshwar Nagar on February 3, the authorities had promised that the illegal structures would be demolished at the earliest.

The slums are eating into the mangroves patch in Dnyaneshwar Nagar, Bandra East
The slums are eating into the mangroves patch in Dnyaneshwar Nagar, Bandra East

Almost a month on, not only are those structures still standing, more huts have cropped up in the area. In successive reports, mid-day has been pointing out that portions of the mangroves patch behind Bandra government colony are being cleared to make way for illegal construction primarily shanties and huts.

mid-day’s report on February 3
mid-day’s report on February 3

Following one such report, the Collector’s office, which is barely 100 metres from the spot where the encroachment is taking place, had taken action in December, 2014. Slum dwellers, however, continued to hack mangroves mercilessly and the encroachments cropped up again this January.

Speaking to this newspaper on February 2, Suburban Collector of Mumbai District Shekhar Channe had said that action would be taken if they found that the structures were illegal. Residents of the area, however, say, no action took place and the structures have actually been increasing in number. “The collector’s office is just a stone’s throw away from here, but no action has been taken in the past one month.

The authorities should understand that if the illegal structures are not removed, the huts will soon eat up the remaining mangrove cover,” said a resident of the area. mid-day also visited Dnyaneshwar Nagar earlier this week and found that more huts had come up very close to the mangroves patch.

The other side
“Earlier, we had taken action and the encroachments were removed. However, I do not remember the exact date. If there is any such activity happening again, we will check the place once again and take necessary action,” Shekhar Channe, Suburban Collector of Mumbai District, said on Wednesday.

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