Of­fi­cer prob­ing Kapil Sharma case nails 66 bun­ga­lows WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Badri Chat­ter­jee badri.chat­ter­jee@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

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