Slum dwellers have broken a boundary wall, and entering the mangrove swamps through it, have been started erecting shanties
Hardly 100 metres away from the office of the Suburban Mumbai Collector in Bandra (East), mangroves are dying every day, hacked off mercilessly by slum dwellers who are desperate to expand their living space.
In the past few days, nearly 50 shanties have cropped up. Pic/Shadab Khan
While the murder of mangroves is a cause of great alarm, what is even more shocking is the fact that the authorities have turned a blind eye towards the massacre. Correspondents from mid-day visited the collector’s office twice, but no one emerged to meet them.
These mangroves are located off Bandra Kurla Complex. The slums don’t have a name, but the land falls under the jurisdiction of the collector’s office.
While a boundary is in place, residents of the slum have broken it down to encroach upon the mangroves. As the number of encroachments rise, the mangrove cover dwindles. In the last few days, the number of shanties has shot up to around 50.
The mangroves are hardly 100 metres away from the Mithi River, which caused the most devastating floods in Mumbai in 2005. Since then, there has been aggressive campaigning against the killing of mangroves.
When mid-day went to take photos of the slums, some local residents said, “The slums are increasing with each passing day, and need to be demolished.” They added that they hadn’t raised their voices against the encroachment out of fear of a backlash.
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest (CCF), Mangroves Cell
If it’s a notified forestland and has been transferred to us, then we will take action against the illegal encroachment. I will verify the details to check if it comes under our jurisdiction or not.
Avinash Dhakne, additional collector, encroachment
For mangroves, there’s a special designated officer who has to take action against such encroachment. Even if we get the complaint, we will be forwarding the complaint to the Mangrove Cell located in the SRA office.
>> The threatened mangroves are only 100 metres away from the collector’s office
>> Mangrove Cell denies any awareness of the encroachment
>> Around 50 shanties have come in a few weeks