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Residents’ forum sets an example

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Viju B | TNN

When morning walkers stroll along the vast mangrove stretches along the Gorai creek breathing clean air, they silently thank a local residents’ forum that fought hard to protect 400 acres of the coastal forests.

Two years ago, the New Link Road Residents’ Forum came to know that a builder was trying to dump debris under the pre text of repairing bunds in a salt pan where mangroves were present. When complaints with the local authorities did not stop the debris dumping, they moved court.
“We fought the case for two years, all the way to the Supreme Court. We produced
satellite maps and photo grap ev nce a builder had mangroves from all sides and constructed kutcha roads deep inside,” said Harish Pandey, a member of the forum
The Supreme Court directed the developer, Jayesh Shah of Ravi group, to open the bunds that blocked the entry of seawater to the mangroves. The court said the dumped debris was to be removed within 60 days and the original condition of the land—as it was in January 2010—restored.
“It was a huge victory for us We did not even have enough money to fight the case. The residents of Dahisar and I C Colony stood by us,” Pande said. “The members were threatened and their families had a harrowing time. But it was worth the effort. We feel that this struggle should be em ulated by every neighbourhood in the city.”
TOI first reported on the destruction of mangroves in the area years ago.

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