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Frequent blocking of tidal water to Panje wetland

HC panel orders to protect wetlands

Tells CIDCO to shift Uran garbage dump

Committee member Stalin D of Vanshakti Foundation pointed out at the meeting that there should be no differentiation between manmade or natural wetlands. All water bodies must be protected. The Chairman agreed with the contention.

NAVI MUMBAI:  In a major victory for environmentalists, the High Court appointed committee has ordered the authorities to maintain all wetlands and transfer mangroves to the forest department.

In the first meeting in six months held on last Monday, the committee has said CIDCO and other authorities had no business to sit on mangroves which are supposed to be maintained and protected by the forest department. The Committee did not meet after March owing to COVID-triggered lockdown.

The committee, chaired by Konkan Divisional Commissioner Annasaheb Misal, also ordered the shifting of the Uran garbage dump from Bori Pakhadi to a new site. The Committee asked CIDCO to cooperate in finalizing the site. Till then the Uran Municipal Council has been asked not to damage any more mangroves.

A committee member remarked that Misal is a “dashing officer’ and means action without mincing words.

“The developments clearly indicated that the genuine complaints are heard and taken note of,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation, which has sent a long list of grievances to the Committee.

Committee member Stalin D of Vanshakti Foundation pointed out at the meeting that there should be no differentiation between manmade or natural wetlands. All water bodies must be protected. The Chairman agreed with the contention.

“With this, we are hopeful that Panje and other wetlands in eco sensitive Uran will be protected,” Kumar said.

Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, expressed the hope that the decisions taken at the meeting will be implemented fully. “We have had the bad experience of the authorities flouting the High Court committee decisions,” he said and called for monitoring the progress.

The decisions at the meeting also raise the hopes of saving the wetlands – Belpada, Bhendkhal, Panje, Talawe, TS Chanakya – in Navi Mumbai. The Mangrove cell has asked for transferring the properties to it to protect and conserve while CIDCO argued that these places are not notified wetlands.

“With the HC Committee calling for protecting them, let us hope the wetlands will be protected,” Stalin said.

Raigad collector Nidhi Chaudhary has informed the Committee that FIRs have been filed against NMSEZ for damaging Pagote and  Bhendkhal wetlands.