Res­i­dents protest against con­struc­tion on Yeoor for­est land

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Shashikant Kothekar shashikant.kothekar@hin­dus­tan­

In the past four months, 50 trees in Yeoor for­est have been felled and builders have en­croached on gover nment lands and are slowly de­stroy­ing the city’s green lung.

Al­leg­ing that even res­i­dents are get­ting af­fected by il­le­gal con­struc­tions in the for­est area, pro­test­ers marched from Pa­tonepada to the Thane col­lec­tor’s of­fice on Fri­day, de­mand­ing the preser­va­tion of the green area.

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents, cit­i­zens and ac­tivists protested against the il­le­gal en­croach­ment and de­struc­tion of Yeoor for­est lands for build­ing ho­tels, re­sorts and other com­mer­cial struc­tures. “More than 50 trees have al­ready been felled and over 200 trucks have dumped rub­ble on the for­est soil, ir­re­versibly dam­ag­ing the frag­ile ecosys­tem of the Yeoor for­est,” said Ro­hit Joshi, one of the or­gan­is­ers of the rally.

The protest was or­gan­ised by the Yeoor En­vi­ron­men­tal So­ci­ety and a union of vol­un­teers work­ing for the de­vel­op­ment of trib­als and other back­ward com­mu­ni­ties.

Ramesh Walvi, 28, whose fam­ily has been liv­ing in Yeoor for­est for more than 50 years, said all res­i­dents have been af­fected by the ram­pant con­struc­tion and de­struc­tion of green­ery. “The wall con­structed by the de­vel­oper has blocked the road to Jamb­hul­pada and Pa­ton­pada where 700 adi­va­sis live.”

The pro­test­ers blamed de­vel­oper, Su­per Dream Real Es­tate, for il­le­gally en­croach­ing and con­struct­ing on for­est land.

A for­est of­fi­cial, on con­di­tion of anonymity, said: “We con­ducted a sur­vey and gave a no­tice to the de­vel­oper, ask­ing him to re­move the con­struc­tion. But, the de­vel­oper ap­proached the high court and gave ev­i­dence that the land is his. So, the con­struc­tion work has started.”

De­vel­oper Suresh Gada of Su­per Dream Real Es­tate has de­nied all charges.

“I have all records prov­ing that the land be­longs to me. Twenty years ago, I gave 60 feet land for road ac­cess to Pa­ton­pada for free. As per 7/12 records, we are the owner. The high court has given me per­mis­sion for con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity,” said Gada.

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