Mumbai: Mangroves made way for parking space, say angry locals

A strong protest by angry locals of Dahisar East drove out private tourist bus operators who had parked their vehicles in that region and had also cut down a huge portion of the mangrove forest.

BMC using an earthmover to dig a trench to prevent the buses from entering the mangrove forest
BMC using an earthmover to dig a trench to prevent the buses from entering the mangrove forest

Some 500 residents involved in the protest alleged that the local land mafia has aided in reducing the mangrove cover spanning across 1 acre.

Since mangroves come under the Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ), chopping them off is illegal, say locals.

They were forced to start the agitation because repeated complaints made to the police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) went unheard.

“We had been complaining since April 2015 and had also given several reminders but nothing happened,” said Harish Pande, an environmentalist and activist involved in this movement since the beginning.

Vijay Kamble, assistant commissioner R/North ward (Dahisar east), said, “I had asked the Dahisar police to file an FIR under MRTP (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices) Act two-and-a-half months ago.”

The locals protesting near Saraswati Apartments in the desolate Rokadiya Lane blocked the road and did not let private buses move out of the parking area.

They finally relented when the bus operators guaranteed that they will not park their buses and will also undertake the damage repairs.

Former mayor Shubha Raul and local corporator Sheetal Mhatre supported the locals.

Mangroves Commissioner N Vasudevan was unavailable for comment.

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