Mumbai: Debris gobbles up an acre of mangroves
Illegal structures have also come up on the patch, in Mith Chowki in Malad
Locals allege that the illegal dumping, which takes place in the wee hours of the morning, the width of the nullah has also decreased over the years. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Another prime patch mangroves in the city has fallen victim to encroachment by way of illegal dumping of debris. The patch, roughly around one acre is located in Mith Chowki in Malad. The area is also a few hundred meters away from the plot near CRZ II land, which was earlier reserved for Charkop Bandra Mankhurd Metro II, which was later scrapped.
Social worker and activist Shariq Raza said, "The dumping in the stretch has taken place over five to six years and the portion of the area and mangroves which were there earlier at this location have vanished, all thanks to the authorities who seem to have turned a blind eye to the same."
"When I had visited this place around six-seven years ago, it had mangroves but now more than one acre of the patch has been filled with debris and illegal structures have come up," said Raza.
Raza has been fighting to save the mangroves in Malad and Goregaon for the last few years and has earlier raised his voice against the cutting of mangroves in the area. In order to make sure that action is initiated against the perpetrators of the latest act, Raza has also sent a mail to the Tehsildar's office three months ago. But no action has been taken yet.
Officials hand in glove?
Locals in the area allege that there is a land mafia involved in the same and the portion of the land next to the nullah, which belongs to some trust, has also been encroached.
"I have not only approached the Tehsildar's office around three months ago, but I also visited the Talathi's office and tried to make a complaint but there was no response from their side. I feel that there has been a deliberate delay in taking action and there are chances that some of the officials are hand in glove with the land mafia who have made illegal structures along with huts on the same plot," said a local resident.
Threat to slumdwellers
Locals also alleged that due to the illegal dumping that takes place in the late night hours, the width of the nullah has also decreased over the years as the debris are also dumped in it. If the same continues, then there is a threat to the slum dwellers staying in the area, if there is a deluge again.
Deependra Singh Kushwah, suburban district collector, Mumbai (suburban) said, "According to the government's definition of wetlands, a water body over 5,000 hectares is considered as wetland. As per official records, there are two wetlands [in Mumbai]. So the area where the dumping is taking place according to you might not be a wetland." When told that activists are alleging that the mangrove patch nearby has been reclaimed by dumping debris, Kushwah said, "I will look into the matter and if there is any violation, action will be taken."
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