The move comes after citizens’ groups and activists were at loggerheads with the authorities over the issue for a week.
Mumbai: Forest officials on Thursday stopped the alleged concretisation work along the Dahisar River in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The move comes after citizens’ groups and activists were at loggerheads with the authorities over the issue for a week.
On June 2, the forest department started constructing a retaining wall across the Dahisar River in SGNP, which raised concerns over ecological damage to the river in the forest. While the forest department claimed that the work was to check soil erosion and flooding in the area, citizens claimed the cemented walls would do more harm than good.
Gopal Jhaveri, member, River March, a citizens’ group working towards rejuvenation of the city’s rivers, said, “We fail to understand the need to construct retaining walls across the river in the forest. SGNP officials are claiming that it is de-silting work but with the help of JCBs and concrete mixers, they are dredging the riverbed. If it is to check soil erosion, there are better ways like carrying out the right kind of plantation along the river.”
However, SGNP officials claimed that construction of retaining walls was necessary to widen the river so as to prevent flooding of surrounding areas.
A senior SGNP official said, “We are only carrying out de-silting in the river. During the heavy spell on August 29 last year, the flooding in SGNP due to overflow of the Dahisar river caused damage to offices. We are not planning to concretise the riverbed and are only constructing retaining walls.”
Activists have also objected to the construction of residential quarters near the river. “We fear that during heavy rains, there could be flash floods in these areas,” they said.