2,000 trees hacked in mangrove patch at Borivli
Trees were chopped with machines, residents blame administration’s apathy
MUMBAI: In the third case of mangrove destruction reported within 15 days, around 2,000 trees were hacked on a wetland spread over two-and-a-half-acres in Dharma Nagar, Borivli (West). Locals, mainly from the New Link Road Residents Forum, after trudging into the marshy area and taking pictures [see below] approached the police on Monday, who visited the spot and drew up a panchnama.
MUMBAI: In the third case of mangrove destruction reported within 15 days, around 2,000 trees were hacked on a wetland spread over two and a half acres in Dharma Nagar, Borivli (West).
Locals approached the police on Monday, after which they visited the spot and drew up a panchnama.
“We visited the site and took pictures of the area. Based on our investigations, an intimation will be made to the tehsildar’s office and further investigations will be taken up,” said Ashok Sawant, inspector, MHB police station, Borivli.
New Link Road Residents’ Forum ( NLRRF), a citizens group, was conducting a nature trail in the area, close to the Gorai creek, when they stumbled upon the destroyed mangroves.
HT visited the spot on Monday and found the branches of the trees were finely cut, which can only be possible with the use of heavy machinery.
“Mechanical saws have been used to chop the entire patch of mangroves within a span of a few hours. This was done probably around a month ago, for construction purposes,” said Harish Pandey, the secretary of NLRF.
“This is the biggest incident of mangrove destruction in the past couple of years. Our slow criminal justice system and indifferent administrative authorities are responsible for such blatant violations of environmental regulations,” he said.
The tehsildar office will send officials to the spot on Tuesday, Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka, said. “Local residents have informed us about the tree hacking. Along with officials from the mangrove cell, our circle officer will visit the site on Tuesday,” he said.
The state mangrove cell said officials will be sent to the spot to verify whether the area falls under forestland, public property or is privately owned. “On the basis of our investigation, we will take strict action against those destroying the t rees,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests mangrove cell, Mumbai.
In 2005, the Bombay HC had banned all construction within 50 metres of mangroves. 5 May 2015Hindustan Times (Mumbai)Badri Chatterjee email@example.com
Yesterday evening my 12 year old son and I were passing along the Link Road from IC Colony towards Dahisar when we saw black smoke rising out from Gully no. 1 of Ganpat Patil Nagar.
We stopped and went in to see what was happening.
Plastic and rubber waste from the garages around were being burnt, and black smoke was rising out.
My son and I went and asked them: Do you know that burning these things cause cancer and various other problems like cough, asthma and skin allergy, not only for you and your children but for residents in nearby areas like IC Colony?
They said they did not know.
I requested them to stop burning these things. Instead I suggested that they give it to the BMC. I saw a BMC clean up truck pass by the very same gully [road] even as I was speaking!
They agreed and asked someone nearby to bring water to douse the flames.
As soon as water was put thick white smoke billowed out. Soon the fire was put out.
All it took for us was three minutes, my son commented as we returned to the car.
Can you do it, dear reader? If you see smoke and people burning rubber or plastic, please step in and ask them to stop. For the sake of people around and your family?
The burning of rubber and plastic waste releases carcinogens into the air. It is banned by the High Court, and heavy penalty can be fined on people doing so. The least you can do it to talk to the people doing this, politely. All the best!
DUMP DRAFT DEVPT PLAN – Borivali-Dahisar land use errors ignored to serve vested interests, say residents
Threat To City’s Mangroves Draft Marks Commercial Areas On High Tide Line
The draft Development Plan 2034 is not only filled with errors and significant omissions, but has also proposed regularization of encroachments in the eco-sensitive coastal regulation zone-1 (CRZ-1) areas. Most of Mumbai’s CRZ-1 areas have a massive growth of mangroves which protect the coast from erosion.
Mangroves have been declared as forests by the state government.
The encroachments, which have come up over the past decade by destroying mangroves and reclaiming land, are being sought to be legitimized through the Development Plan, alleged the New Link Road Residents’ Association. These encroachments have even been highlighted by the mangrove cell in its report filed in the Bombay high court in a PIL filed by the association.
The sprawling Ganpat Patil Nagar slum, an encroachment on mangroves in CRZ-1, has been shown as a residential zone in the DP maps. “Several plots in CRZ-1 and the no-development zone in Kanderpada, Eksar village, Dahisar village have been marked as commercial. Several water bodies along the creek that were reclaimed some time back have been assigned as commercial in the draft DP,” said Harish Pandey , a member of the association. The New Link Road Residents’ Association, which has been studying the draft development plan 201334 to understand how the area from Borivli West to Dahisar West and Dahisar East will be developed over the next 20 years, was shocked to find commercial areas marked on the high-tide line.The BMC has even marked public amenities such as cemeteries and community welfare centres in this zone.
“There are mangroves and the sea-water comes in here at high tide, but these areas have been marked for construction,“ said association members.
Debris being dumped to reclaim mangroves in CRZ-1 in Ganpat Patil Nagar, a totally illegal slum in Borivali
Moreover, the mangrove cell in a report to the Bombay High Court, which was hearing a PIL filed by the association, pointed out how an illegal parking lot for tourist buses came up on reclaimed mangroves and wetlands.“This wetland area has been shown as a bus terminus in the proposed DP. It is contempt of court,“ said Harish Pandey , a member of the association.
What has upset residents is that all these errors were found in the existing land use (ELU) plan and two years back, when the BMC had sought objectionssuggestions, they had pointed these out to the corporation. “Not a single mistake in the ELU has been rectified. This has been done to serve vested interests,” said Pandey. Local residents are upset that the BMC has no proposal for mitigation in flood-prone Dahisar East.“Rampant development in CRZ areas will only make us more vulnerable to floods,” said Pandey.
Citizens expect a development plan to set right the ills plaguing Mumbai but this draft DP seems to have regularised blatant encroachments on some of its most precious green zones. Mangroves are important for protecting Mumbai’s coastline and what has happened in the Borivali-Dahisar belt will result in long-term damage to the city. Can we expect at least this flaw to be set right? Or has this, too, been deliberately done to favour some lobby or political group?
Apr 21 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
DP wants to even regularize CRZ-1 encroachments! This is the height of nonsense, taking law abiding tax paying citizens to be fools, while rewarding criminals who grab land illegally!
“In total violation of the CRZ I, mangroves have been hacked near Saraswati Apartments. Close to 15 acres of wetlands are being reclaimed to convert the plot into a parking area for tourist buses,” said Harish Pandey, secretary, NLRRF.
“At another location, near Vithal Rakhumai Mandir, mangroves have been cleared to store building material such as sewage pipes and cement blocks,” Pandey said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Thursday, issued a notice under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act about the alleged mangrove destruction in the two locations, which fall under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
“The BMC has done its part by releasing the notice. The police have to take further action now,” said Santoshkumar Dhonde, assistant commissioner, R-north ward (Borivali, Dahisar).
The Dahisar police, however, told HT that while they received the MRTP notice from the civic body on Friday, the BMC needs to send an engineer to the spot for inspection.
“We are waiting for an engineer from the municipal corporation to give us the exact details of the violation, after which we will file an FIR against the accused,” said Prakash Jadhav, senior inspector, Dahisar police.
Officials from the revenue department confirmed the violation of environmental norms at one of the locations.“We visited the site near Saraswati Apartments along with forest officials. We found violations and filed two complaints to the Dahisar police, asking them to register an FIR. If rules have been flouted at the second location too, we will draft a panchnama along with the forest department, and file a complaint,” said Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka.
Residents have alleged serious damage to the mangroves.
“Dumped debris has formed a 10-feet-high wall near the Vithal Rakhumai Mandir, where clearing of illegally extracted sand is underway,” said David Soosay, resident of Dahisar.
While NEW LINK ROAD RESIDENTS’ FORUM approached the BMC, the police and the revenue department on Wednesday 15th April 2015, an FIR is yet to be registered
DESPITE THE HC JUDGEMENT, SUCH ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS AND RECLAMATION OF WETLANDS ARE ON THE RISE, said ARELENE DSOUZA, resident of Dahisar.
THE BMC HAS DONE ITS PART BY RELEASING THE NOTICE. THE POLICE HAVE TO TAKE FURTHER ACTION NOW, says SANTOSH KUMAR DHONDE, assistant commissioner, R-north ward (Borivali, Dahisar)
Mangroves near Saraswati Apartments in Dahisar East have been damaged.
While The New Link Road Residents’ Forum (NLRRF) approached the civic body, the police and the revenue department on Wednesday, an FIR is yet to be registered in the matter. More than a year after the Bombay high court (HC) banned reclamation of wetlands, residents of Dahisar (East) have complained of mangrove destruction in their area.
18 Apr 2015 Hindustan Times (Mumbai) Badri Chatterjee firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials inspect 25-acre area in Borivli after allegations of mangrove destruction
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell, said, “Our officials, who went to the spot, found that the area came under private land. There could have been mangroves in the area but as the land is privately owned it comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification. Violation of this notification is not dealt with by the forest department. The revenue officials have to look into the matter.”
Prashanti Mane, tehsildar, Borivli taluka, told HT that she needed to get infor mation regarding the matter and refused to comment.
Google map of the place as in Jan 2015
View from the nearby building Google map of the area ten years ago
Harish Pandey, environmental activist and resident of Dahisar, who accompanied the officials to the site near Dharma Nagar, said, “We have consistently been following up with authorities to protect the last green pocket in the area. Neither the authorities nor the wrongdoers take the court order seriously. As a resident of the area, we are contemplating filing a contempt petition against the authorities and the builder.”
Through an order delivered in October 2005, the Bombay high court has given the mangroveson government land the status of ‘protected forests’ and that of ‘forests’ to the mangrove land under private ownership. As a result, the mangroves cannot be damaged.
Pandey said, “In November, the New Link Road Residents Forum had issued a legal notice to the local police and revenue department regarding similar reclamation of the wetland in Dahisar. Now, the same thing has happened in Borivli.”
- 19 Mar 2015
- Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
- Badri Chatterjee email@example.com
In North West Mumbai we are generally blessed with greenery and fresh air. But there are places like Ganpat Patil Nagar off Link Road at Borivali West where the very greenery and fresh air which were meant for ordinary tax paying citizens is now producing dangerous smoke and fog.
Today morning, when the residents went for morning walk what did they see? What are they breathing in?
This is what is happening.
Figure 1 Smoke choking residents in Borivali West
Amidst the lush mangroves illegal slums have proliferated in the last few years, and see what they are doing, not only to themselves but also to the innocent people living in buildings nearby. The thick smoke emanating from these slums every day is to be seen to be believed.
Today morning was a lovely sight, with the full moon setting in the west.
Figure 2 Today morning’s full moon setting
Even as we enjoyed the lovely moon set, we were saddened and angered to see the blue tentacles of smoke spreading from the illegal slums of Ganpat Patil Nagar as seen in the picture below.
Figure 3 Moon setting in the west and pollution from the illegal slums in mangroves
This deadly smoke is causing respiratory illnesses and also cancer among the people here and nearby.
Figure 4 Air pollution from slums smothering residents
Figure 5 Tentacles of smoke spreading from the slums
Figure 6 A pall of deadly smoke blankets the illegal slums
Already the residents Forum has filed innumerable complaints with the local authorities in writing, by email and also verbally, and some action has been taken. Legal action has also been taken and many court cases and PIL’s are filed. We hope and pray that these slums will be removed from here and greenery and fresh air become the norm.
Power cables were being laid in slums nearby, which encroach on wetlands
Alert residents of Dahisar Link Road have temporarily brought work to lay underground cables by Tata Power to a halt after they raised ob jections to the project with various authorities including the police and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). Nov 17 2014 : Mirror (Mumbai)
The New Link Road Residents Forum (NLRRF) and environmentalists have been fighting to save the wetlands near Dahisar Link Road. Forum members said they spotted workers digging up Lanes 5 and 9 in the illegal Ganpat Patil Nagar slums on Sunday morning, which falls under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ-1). They also saw the local BJP MLA’s [Shri Gopal Shetty] banner saying that he was responsible for this work.
The slums, spread over three km, have been one of the biggest threats to the mangroves as squatters keep trying to encroach upon the protected area. Harish Pandey, secretary, NLRRF, said, “After coming to know it was a Tate Power project, I called up the police control room first and then spoke with the workers. They told us an electric sub-station was to be set up and showed us a letter giving permission from the land owner, Samant Properties,” he added. Forum members then explained that the land was under CRZ-1 and the slums were illegal, so no work could be carried out. “They didn’t have permission from authorities like BMC, the tehsildar or the district collector.We also showed them all relevant documents, court rulings and satellite images with us, after which they agreed to stop work,” said Pandey.
Dr S P Mathew, a forum member, said, “We have sent a detailed complaint via email to MCZMA. We will follow up with the police, tehsildar’s office and the collectorate.”
Environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti said, “It’s a shocking violation as the entire area is a CRZ-1 and all the slums are illegal as they have encroached on wetlands. Any work needs permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) or other concerned authorities.”
Replying to Mirror via email, Tata Power Company said, “Tata Power had initiated the LT Network laying activities inside the Ganpat Patil Nagar Slum on November 14, 2014 after receiving about 1,000 applications for power supply from the said area… All necessary permissions from the land owner were also taken as the said slum is situated on private land. Tata Power is committed to following all environment and necessary norms. Yes, the work has been stopped at present and we are waiting to show all the required permissions to the police.”