Despite regular demolitions, more than 50 acres of Dahisar mangroves land has been occupied by the slum dwellers in Ganpat Patil Nagar.
Mumbai: With the recent slum regularisation amendment by the state government, environmentalists fear that it will pose a threat to the city's mangroves. Earlier in December, the cabinet had passed a proposal regularising all the slums with January 1, 2000 as the cut-off date. Environmentalists asserted that the policy would lead to an increase in slums in such areas and open the land for developers for rehabilitation projects.
“The Ganpat Patil Nagar slum in Dahisar and the Rama Bai slum in Ghatkopar are examples of this. The mass legalising of slums could lead to more slum dwellers building shanties in the city’s mangroves, as they are more vulnerable to encroachments,” said Stalin Dayanand, Project Director of the NGO, Vanashakti.
Despite regular demolitions, more than 50 acres of Dahisar mangroves land has been occupied by the slum dwellers in Ganpat Patil Nagar. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolished around 800 hutments in the area this month.
“There were only 1,000 shanties in Ganpat Patil Nagar before 2000. However, the count of illegal structures has come up to 15,000 till now. The slum regularisation policy does not mention if the slum encroachment in mangrove areas is legal but if they include them, it will lead to more rehabiliation projects in the sensitive Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) I,” said Harish Pandey, president of New Link Road Residents Forum.
Meanwhile, officials from the state environment cell maintained that the slums encroached in CRZ-I would also be legal under the policy. “In fact, the move would help in freeing up the mangroves from shanties. Slum dwellers would be rehabilitated in the Project Affected People (PAP) buildings. Even for construction of a rehabilitation project in the mangrove area, prior permission from the Bombay High Court is required,” said S. Sandanshiv, scientific officer- II, state environment cell.