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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai Authorities turn blind eye to illegal dumping of debris in mangroves in Versova village

Mumbai: Authorities turn blind eye to illegal dumping of debris in mangroves in Versova village

Updated on: 25 June,2024 06:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav | ranjeet.jadhav@mid-day.com

As photos show rampant debris dumping in the mangroves near Shiv Galli in Versova Village, residents fear squatters will move in next

Mumbai: Authorities turn blind eye to illegal dumping of debris in mangroves in Versova village

Picture taken by a nature lover around three weeks ago of Illegal dumping near Shiv Galli in Versova village

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Key Highlights

  1. The authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to the illegal dumping of debris
  2. Pictures clicked by nature lover shed light on rampant discarding of construction material
  3. BMC officer who was cracking down on illegal buildings was allegedly transferred

The authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to the illegal dumping of debris on mangrove and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) land near Shiv Galli in Versova village. Pictures recently clicked by a nature lover shed light on the rampant discarding of construction material in an area with a radius of 300 metres in the ecologically rich spot. Recently, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officer who was cracking down on illegal buildings in the village was allegedly transferred.




The nature lover told mid-day, “Not only is illegal construction taking place near Shiv Galli but huge amounts of construction debris are also being dumped on mangrove and CRZ land. Shockingly, the mangrove cell authorities have not taken any steps for the protection of these ecologically sensitive areas. The pictures I clicked around three weeks ago show the rampant dumping that is happening and I hope authorities take strict action against those involved.”


When this reported visited the area near Shiv Galli recently, he observed that a board had been put up near the mangrove patch by the mangrove cell of the Maharashtra forest department and it mentions that the area is a notified reserved forest and that grazing, hunting, tree cutting, farming, encroachment and throwing garbage or dumping are prohibited.

However, heaps of debris could be seen in and around the area where the board was set up. Also, around 300-400 metres from the board, we noticed that storage units for construction material had come up close to CRZ areas. A local who did not wish to be named said, “For about three years, I have been witnessing the land mafia encroaching on mangrove and CRZ areas close to Shiv Galli. Their trucks loaded with construction material systematically scatter debris here late at night.” Nature lovers from the area alleged that this is happening with the blessings of a local politician.

Green Speak

Environmentalist Stalin D from the NGO Vanashakti said, “All CRZ zones are witnessing illegal dumping of debris on a massive scale. Across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, CRZ areas are being buried. This cannot happen without the connivance of corrupt officials. Repeated complaints have yielded no result. The situation is serious. We need urgent intervention and restoration of the degraded sites.”

Pictures of illegal dumping near Shiv Galli in Versova village clicked by the nature lover around three weeks ago
Pictures of illegal dumping near Shiv Galli in Versova village clicked by the nature lover around three weeks ago

Environmentalist Debi Goenka said, “As per the rules, the garbage trucks of BMC should have GPS so it is not difficult for the civic body to find out who is dumping garbage in the mangrove and CRZ area in Versova village. Over and above that, the police have a huge network of CCTV cameras across the city and the police administration has a system in place. Using this, they should find out the dumpers and people responsible for dumping the debris. As far as construction debris is concerned, there are the construction and demolition (C&D) waste rules of BMC. Under them, builders are required to take permission from BMC when they demolish any building and they are also required to estimate the quantity of debris. After paying the charges, the BMC will send them a separate truck to collect C&D waste and dispose of it in a designated dumping ground. As per a high court order, it is the job of the BMC to remove debris and garbage, especially in mangrove areas. There is not a single example where the BMC has done what the court has ordered them to do. The mangrove cell is sitting on a corpus of over R500 crore so it’s not that they don't have money to protect mangroves. What is likely to happen there now is that a slum will come up at the location overnight, sponsored by some builder. Soon, this will be declared as an SRA project and some huge buildings will be built. This is basically a land grab modus operandi.”

Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit said, “The system has totally failed in protecting mangroves and open spaces in Versova and Lokhandwala in Andheri. This is not possible without the support of a local public representative. Areas near Bangur Nagar in Goregaon West and Versova have become a nightmare. The transfer of Assistant Municipal Commissioner Prithviraj Chauhan for his proactive stance against the land mafia in Versova has sent wrong signals and has demotivated lots of officers and citizens like us.” When contacted, mangrove cell officials were unavailable for comment.

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