Walkers, locals brazenly flout lockdown rules in Aarey colony
Forest department officials write to the Aarey police station asking for stringent action as many people brazenly roam around in areas where leopard activity has been observed recently
Despite a nationwide lockdown, people continue to step out for morning and evening walks in Aarey Milk Colony. Moreover, there have been instances of locals venturing into the forest area surrounding the VIP guest house, which is known for wildlife activity.
Taking note of this, the Thane Forest Department has written to Aarey police station requesting action against those found flouting the lockdown rules.
The volunteers monitoring leopard activity in Aarey informed the Thane Forest Department about locals venturing into the forest area. A volunteer told mid-day, "I learned from my sources that many people, including some morning and evening walkers and Adarsh Nagar slum pocket residents, venture into the forest surrounding the VIP guest House, which is even frequently visited by wild animals. This information has been passed on to the forest department."
Sources also said that residents of Adarsh Nagar slums regularly roam around the VIP guest house in groups, flouting social distancing norms.
Range Forest Officer (RFO), Santosh Kank said, "People are expected to stay indoors and maintain social distancing but volunteers, who have been doing camera trapping exercises to monitor leopard activity saw people roaming in the area surrounding the VIP guest House hillock. The area has seen leopard activity in the last few days and to prevent any man-animal conflict, people should not venture into the woods. We have already informed the Aarey police station through a letter and we expect them to take action against the violators."
Illegal encroachment taking place in Aarey
The boundary encroachers built surrounding a huge portion of land in Unit 13
A nature lover from Aarey has alleged that people have been trying to encroach Aarey Milk Colony Unit – 13 by axing trees and constructing boundaries around a huge chunk of land. Elijah Emmanuel, a teacher at the kindergarten for slum children, told mid-day, "For the last two-three weeks, I have seen people cutting down trees and building boundaries in Unit 13. During the monsoon, hutments will be constructed as no one comes to check. When I objected, they threatened me and my family. Today, more than 50 people from the area came to my house and abused and threatened me with harm. But the people from Aarey CEO office came and demolished the boundaries. I have registered a complaint with the local police station and hope they take necessary action against those threatening me."
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