Protect mangroves: Bombay HC to Navi Mumbai authorities

Bombay High Court has directed CIDCO, NMMC and the Forest Department to take full responsibility in protecting mangroves.

A HC bench comprising Justice AS Oka and Justice Revati Mohite Dere on Tuesday directed the authorities to make sure that no destruction of the mangroves take place, including 50 meters on land from the edge of mangroves in Navi Mumbai.

The court ruled that if any destruction does take place, then the debris should be removed and mangroves replanted. The court stated that these three agencies and the Police Commissioner appoint one or more nodal officers who will be responsible for their respective areas in Navi Mumbai.

They also demanded that a high-powered Mangroves Committee be set up to be headed by Divisional Commissioner, Konkan Division. CIDCO, NMMC, Forest, Police need to nominate senior representatives to this committee. The committee’s task would be to ensure co-ordination and implementation of court orders. This committee which would meet once a month should also invite a representative of Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society (NMEPS).

The court further said that the committee should also regularly report to them. The next date for hearing has been fixed at October 21, 2015, with all authorities required to file compliance by October 15, 2015.

“We at NMEPS are happy with the courts orders and hope that the authorities take this as an opportunity to renew their commitment to environment preservation and make Navi Mumbai an example of how authorities and citizens can co-operate and preserve this highly sensitive ecosystem.” said, Vinod Punshi, President NMEPS.

“NMEPS hopes that with this order and its compliance by various authorities, the mangroves and water bodies in Navi Mumbai not only be protected but will also get nurtured,” he added.

Earlier, NMEPS has filed a PIL (No 218/2013) in October 2013 seeking protection of mangroves in the Navi Mumbai region. In a series of interim orders, the court had asked the authorities to clear the debris, remove encroachments in mangrove forests and barricade the sensitive areas to prevent movement of vehicles. The court had asked CIDCO to publish a toll free number and a WhatsApp no on which people can register their complaints relating to mangrove destruction which has now been done.

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