Mumbai: Committee stops clearing of mangroves in Dastan Phata

Updated: Dec 30, 2018, 14:47 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

A Bombay High Court-appointed body initiates inspection in the area, but JNPT says it had the necessary approvals

Site in May, before it was wiped out
Site in May, before it was wiped out

The alleged destruction of migratory bird destination and mangroves, that was done near Dastan Phata in Uran by dumping debris, has finally stopped, following the Bombay High Court-appointed Maharashtra Mangrove Monitoring Committee's order.

Noting that Navi Mumbai-based green activists have been alleging that despite the HC's ruling on wetlands and mangroves and vociferous protests from local fishermen and environmentalists, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust — JNPT — through private contractors has been reclaiming the sprawling Dastan Phata chunk in day-and-night operation.

Taking note about the complaints made regarding the same by NGOs — The Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP) — the mangrove committee sent out a joint team of revenue officials to Dastan Phata on Monday for an immediate study. The committee issued orders to stop the landfill immediately on Saturday.

BN Kumar, director of The Nature Connect, said, "At last, the authorities have realised the environmental loss after we directly complained. But it is too early to celebrate the success as we have miles to go before environmental destruction on the other parts of Uran is checked."

Activists alleged that over 400 acres was destroyed for reclaiming land for plots for project-affected people (PAP) under 12.5 per cent scheme by JNPT. Nandakumar Pawar, head of SEAP, added, "Over 400 acres have been destroyed for reclaiming land for plots PAP under JNPT scheme. We demand for restoration of the water channels and mangroves on the wetland so that the fisher folk could resume their trade. JNPT should find an alternative site."

When asked, an official from JNPT said, "There is no stoppage of work by any one. The allegation that 400 acres of mangroves are being destroyed by JNPT for PAPs is also not correct. The JNPT is a responsible organisation and has taken all the necessary approvals from statutory authorities for removal of mangroves in the past and completed the replantation programme through state forest department agencies."

400
Acres of mangroves allegedly destroyed by JNPT

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