‘De­bris killing green cover at Kalam­boli’

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - B B Nayak

Navi Mum­bai: Dump­ing of con­struc­tion de­bris and garbage along the vast em­bank­ment of the Kalam­boli hold­ing pond ad­join­ing Sion-Pan­vel high­way and Road­pali Road is dry­ing up man­groves on the stretch, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have warned. The dump­ing is also en­cour­ag­ing en­croach­ments by il­le­gal garages, scrap marts and shanties.

Il­le­gal shops and shanties are crop­ping up ev­ery other day and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and ac­tivists are dis­traught that this may fur­ther en­cour­age more en­croach­ments and fur­ther de­stroy the man­grove cover.

When con­tacted, Dnyanesh­war Son­awane, Pan­vel range for­est of­fi­cer, said, “The area be­longs to Cidco and we have no ju­ris­dic­tion over it. How­ever, we will in­ter­vene to pro­tect the man­groves and wet­lands. A team will be sent soon to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion.”

Prakash Gaik­wad, PCMC Kalam­boli ward of­fi­cer, said, “We have kicked off a drive to crack the whip on en­croach­ments in the area and cleared some shanties, makeshift of­fices and ven­dors a few days ago. We will keep a vigil on the dump­ing ac­tiv­ity in the hold­ing pond site too. The dumped de­bris will be re­moved soon.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Yo­gesh Padge said, “The man­grove stretch of the Kalam­boli hold­ing pond, which opens out into the Taloja creek, is un­der threat from dump­ing of de­bris that con­tin­ues un­abated be­sides en­croach­ment. The mafia has adopted the usual modus operandi of dump­ing de­bris in the man­grove stretch and lev­el­ling it and then pro­mot­ing en­croach­ers to set up shops. Agen­cies are turn­ing a blind eye. The high court or­der on preser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion of wet­land and man­groves is be­ing vi­o­lated.”

Res­i­dents too have no­ticed the en­croach­ers and dump­ing ac­tiv­ity which takes place un­der the cover of dark­ness. Cidco en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cer Pramod Patil said he will per­son­ally look into the mat­ter and visit the site.

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