By Accommodation Times News Services
As per a recent report by N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests of mangrove cell, on violations in the narrow belt of the mangroves on the west of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, concludes that the ongoing process of illegal reclamation of wetlands on the western side of the highway is causing incalculable damage to the fragile ecosystem. The matter is taken to Bombay High Court by several NGOs seeking protection of wetlands in and around Mumbai.
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice A K Menon is hearing a petition, the state forest department agrees with the report and stated, that illegal reclamation of wetlands north of Vasai creek in Thane district was causing incalculable and irreversible damage to the fragile ecosystem.
The state government, through its pleader G W Mattoos also asked the Bombay High Court for four weeks to file reports on the site visits on the remaining six wetlands mentioned in the petition.
According to the report, a 500-metre long, foot-high rubble wall “of recent origin” cuts off the flow of tidal water into the wetland. Besides, a facility or parking of trucks and a small building has been developed in about 5-6 hectares of wetland at Sasun Navghar village of Vasai.
“At the time of the visit, a truck was engaged in dumping soil and levelling to reclaim the wetland,” the report said.
The team comprising Vasudevan and other mangrove cell officials noticed signs of recent dumping in another wetland behind Welton Hotel at the site. “The height of the filling is approximately 15-20 ft, suggesting a systematic and protracted process of reclaiming wetlands through debris dumping,” the report read.
Moreover, a showroom-cum-workshop of a dealer of Ashok Leyland has come up on reclaimed land in the northern part of the site, according to the report.
“These reports, including the previous one (on wetland destruction in Mira-Bhayander region) reflect a sorry state of affairs,” said Justice Kanade. The next hearing is scheduled on March 19.