Confirming the fears of massive loss of mangroves in the construction by JNPT in Uran area, the forest department has reported the ‘death’ of as many as 4,550 mangrove plants spread across 4.5 hectares.
Responding to a query by local fishermen’s leader Ramdas Koli, Regional Forest Officer B D Gaikwad admitted the massive destruction of mangroves.
This happened as JNPT was doing landfill for its Container Terminal-4, Gaikwad said and explained: “It has come to our notice during our inspection that 4,550 mangrove plans on 4.5 hectares have dried up due to the non-availability of sea water. These plants do not seem to be alive.”
Koli said this is really shocking and confirms our complaints to various authorities with request not to destroy the mangroves which are vital not only for protecting the coastal line but for breeding of fish.
“It is our constitutional right to practice our hereditary business of catching and selling fish and this is being denied to us as large fishing areas in the creek are being filled for construction by JNPT,” he said.
This is one of the largest massacre of mangroves in Mumbai Metropolitan region (MMR), said Mr Nandkumar Pawar, founder-director of Shree Ekavira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP). Pawar has personally complained to the Konkan Divisional Commissioner about the destruction of environment and even took CIDCO officials around to show them the environmental degradation.
“After the Parsik Hills which have been destroyed due to reckless quarrying, it seems to be the turn of mangroves in this act of not caring for the environment,” he said.
The forest department admission of death of the 4,550 mangroves is only a tip of the iceberg, he said and pointed out the large scale violation of the National Green Tribunal orders.
Communication activist B N Kumar who runs an ecology-focused website – www.thenatureconnect.com – said the mindless mangrove destruction is being done openly by various construction contractors. On the one hand debris is being dumped in the creek from Vashi to Uran, while on the other reclamation is going on unchecked. He posted the photographs of the ecological destruction on his web site.