The high court-appointed mangrove committee has directed NHAI to clear blockade of tidal water.
Mumbai: Around 4,500 mangroves have allegedly been destroyed in a roadwork NH-348, claimed local activists. Even as the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust finished reclamation of the Dastan Phata wetland in Uran taluka, activists alleged that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has blocked free flow of water to the mangroves in a roadwork.
Following a written report from the revenue inspection team, the high court-appointed mangrove committee has directed the NHAI to clear the blockade of tidal water.
Environment focused groups - The Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishan (SEAP) - have been complaining to the government and the Bombay high court-appointed mangrove monitoring committee about the violation. They have also written to Union highway minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. CIDCO officials had visited the spot and confirmed the violation. “However, no action has been taken. Now, the destruction of 4,500 mangroves is complete,” said Nandakumar Pawar, head of SEAP.
The mangrove committee had also deputed a team of revenue and forest officials in December which recorded that the survival of 4,500 mangroves was at stake. “We could get some semblance of mangroves only three months ago, but today, they are dried up. We are mourning the death of the biodiversity area as, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t save it,” said B.N. Kumar, director of Nature Connect.
Local fishermen stated that the fishing community in the area had been involved in the sale of fish and crabs caught there. “We lost our livelihood. This is a clear-cut violation of our Constitutional right to practice our traditional trade,” said Dilip Koli, a fisherman.
In January this year, mangrove committee chairman Jagdish Patil has assured a delegation of activists and local fishermen led by Paaramparik Machhimar Kruti Samiti that he has already instructed NHAI to remove the blockade as it violates the high court order.