By Accommodation Times News Services
Bombay High Court bans any reclamation and construction work on wetlands in all over the state of Maharashtra. The order was passed by the bench headed by Justices V M Kande and Anil Menon on 19th March, Wednesday, the hearing was followed by a PIL filed by NGO Vanshakti, also directed Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Collectors of Thane, Mumbai Suburban District and Mumbai City to file reports within four weeks on action taken on alleged violations in wetland areas of the state.
The bench of Justices ordered that no permission should be granted for construction and reclamation on wetlands and if any such actions are witnessed action should be taken by the collector and by the authorities of Environment Protection Act (EPA) against the violations. They directed the authorities to submit an ‘action-taken report’ at the next hearing in four weeks.
As per the PIL filled destruction of wetlands in suburban Malwani, Dahisar, Vasai, Esselworld, Oshiwara, Kanakia Nagar in Mira Road, Kasheli in Thane and Palm Beach Road area in Navi Mumbai were increasing and was harming the environment.
The PIL mentioned that as per High Court’s order four months ago, police and civic bodies had failed to take stringent action on complaints relating to alleged destruction of mangroves and wetlands in at least 14 locations in and around Mumbai including Thane, Diva, Mumbra, Vasai and Mira Bhayander. The government had told the court earlier that an authority for monitoring wetlands would be constituted soon.
The Advocate GW Mattos, defending for the NGO stated, the conservator of forest has submitted three reports; six more are pending. In the reports submitted, it has been noted that mass destruction of wetlands/mangroves has been done.
On February 19, forest official had inspected the two wetlands of Vasai, which showed massive dumping of debris on them, along with many illegal structures, including a temple, built on the land in the last decade
The report was submitted after directions from the high court while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Vanashakti. The PIL sought directions to the authorities to ensure proper implementation of wetland rules and stop the ongoing mangrove destruction as verified by the report.