Officer probing Kapil Sharma case nails 66 bungalows WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
A day after the officer investigating actor Kapil Sharma’s mangrove destruction case, Makarand Ghodke, was reinstated, he submitted a report to the state mangrove cell and the district collectorate on Wednesday, identifying 66 bungalow owners violating the Environment Protection Act by encroaching on mangrove land at Versova, Andheri (West).
According to the report, 66 of 73 bungalows have illegal extensions less than 50m away from thick mangrove cover, along the 1-km stretch near Janki Devi Public School, starting from Sharma’s bungalow where the violation was first observed in September.
Noting the PIL filed by Bombay Environment Action Group — an NGO in Mumbai — in 2005, the Bombay high court banned the destruction of statewide mangroves and construction within 50m of them. After Vanashakti filed another PIL, the HC banned all reclamation and construction on wetlands in 2014. “Bungalow owners have violated HC orders and the Environment Protection Act, 1986, by either dumping debris to level the land near mangroves, some have made gardens, installed benches and others are either constructing extensions to their bungalows or have left construction material,” said Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, mangrove protection unit, state mangrove cell, adding mangrove trees were also destroyed for the extensions.
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell said, “Since the land for the whole stretch of bungalows belongs to Mhada, the jurisdiction to take action in the matter belongs to the district collectorate. We have submitted individual violations in the form of separate punchnamas to the Mumbai suburban collectors’ office.”