Navi Mumbai: Illegal tabela chews up mangrove

The green cover in Navi Mumbai, already under threat from encroachment and dumping of debris, is under further attack by a dairy farm, housing around 20 cows and buffaloes, that has come up on a mangrove patch in Koparkhairane

The mangrove cover across Navi Mumbai continues to be under constant threat due to repeated encroachments and dumping of debris. Now it looks like a mangrove patch in the satellite city is actually being used as a place to run a tabela.

This tabela is near the coastal road connecting Airoli and Koparkhairane, that passes through the mangroves. Pics/Sameer Markande
This tabela is near the coastal road connecting Airoli and Koparkhairane, that passes through the mangroves. Pics/Sameer Markande

A green patch in Koparkhairane has been encroached upon, where cattle can be seen tied to trees inside the green cover. The activity is taking place inside a mangrove stretch near the Oriental Institute of Management, near Sector 12 in Koparkhairane.

Also read: Navi Mumbai mangroves in danger, again

There are around 20 cows and buffalos tied up in this mangrove patch
There are around 20 cows and buffalos tied up in this mangrove patch

The tabela is near the coastal road connecting Airoli and Koparkhairane, that passes through the mangroves, opposite Kalash Udyan Library. When mid-day visited the spot, more than 20 cows and buffaloes had been tied to trees inside the patch surrounding the mangroves.

It’s been a decade
Local environmentalists claim that the activity has been taking place since many years. Anarjit Chauhan, social worker and RTI activist, said, “Two years ago, when we had visited the patch, we saw dairy-related activities inside the mangrove patch.

At that time, we recorded the footage and had also written letters to concerned departments of the NMMC (Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation) and the forest officials.” In 2013, after environmentalists intervened, the municipal corporation had raided the area and had charged the offenders a fine of Rs 1,25,000.

Also read: Sand miners eat away at 300 acres of mangroves in Thane

However, within a few months, the cattle were seen at the same spot again, Chauhan added. Locals revealed that the activity has been taking place for more than 10 years and the milk extracted from these animals is sold in the local market.

Ankush Vetal, a local fisherman who visits the interior stretch of mangroves for fishing, said, “The illegal activity is taking place inside the wetland patch and I have been witnessing it from several years.”

Official speak

N vasudevan, chief conservator of forests (mangrove cell)
We are not aware of any such activity. However, given the exact location of where the activity has been taking place, we will take necessary action under the Indian Forest Act.

Sudhakar Sonawane, mayor
If such activities are taking place, we will take action and seize such illegal occupations.

Ashwini Joshi, Thane collector and district magistrate
If a letter is submitted, highlighting the issues, we will look into the matter.

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