Mumbai: 'Manmade disaster unfolding in Aarey', environmentalist writes to Aaditya Thackeray

Updated: 21 October, 2020 08:08 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Activist writes to Aadtiya Thackeray asking for the removal of concrete walls from the sides of Mithi and Oshiwara rivers in Aarey

The concrete wall inside the riverbed in Aarey
The concrete wall inside the riverbed in Aarey

Mumbai based environmentalist Stalin D from the NGO Vanashakti has written a letter to Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray alleging that the concrete walls built on the sides of Mithi and Oshiwara Rivers are depriving the catchment areas and forest areas of water, which can lead to a huge problem.

In his letter, Stalin has alleged that the walls will have a negative impact on the forest cover and result in flooding in Aarey and that due to the unplanned walls a manmade disaster was unfolding there.

"Walls have been built on both sides of rivers Mithi and Oshiwara Rivers. This complaint pertains to Oshiwara River in particular. Aarey is a forest and a catchment area of both the rivers mentioned. The forests have been deprived of water and interaction with the rivers by these monstrous walls. This will eventually kill and degrade the forests," states the letter

"Already the river has been diverted outside Aarey and landfilling has been done on the river to create bus parking. Now, this year water entered the tabelas and put the lives of buffaloes, etc at grave risk. It has also damaged property. We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court for Mithi River and the court has appointed a committee to submit a report regarding the walls on riversides. The report has been submitted in the court and it recommends removing the walls inside Aarey," Stalin added.

"In case you intend to wait for the orders, kindly communicate the same but we feel that every matter should not be left to the courts to decide. The issue here is that the walls are not needed on riversides inside Aarey and the only reason is to dry up and create land for construction," the letter reads.

"Human interference has no business in the relation between forests and rivers. Please order the removal of the walls immediately. Also, issue orders to revive the RRZ River Regulation Policy scrapped illegally vide a simple letter from a senior government official. An additional well-meaning safeguard policy introduced by the earlier state government was discarded like a piece of waste paper in 2015. The scrapping has been challenged by us in the Bombay High Court. The policy acted as a safeguard for rivers from getting destroyed, but since the Metro 3 carshed was a polluting industry — a red category one which could never have been set up on the banks of Mithi river, the policy was scrapped. The result is that all rivers of Maharashtra are getting polluted today. Please restore the policy and protect all rivers of Maharashtra. Kindly intervene and take corrective action to protect the rivers of Maharashtra," concludes the letter.

Year the RRZ River Regulation Policy was scrapped

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First Published: 21 October, 2020 07:35 IST

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