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Violations - Collage by NatConnect

Breaking! Centre’s eye on Navi Mumbai environmental crimes

Multiple agencies secretly collecting data for PMO, other depts

The agencies are also understood to be collecting reports of bird-hit threats to flights due to wetland burials.

NAVI MUMBAI: In a surprise move, top Central agencies have stepped into the cases of environmental violations in Navi Mumbai, including Uran.

The reports, including the one relating to bird-threat dangers to flights at the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport, will be sent to the PMO, Home and the Civil Aviation Ministries, BizNewsConnect understands.  

The agencies are not conducting any parallel investigation, but merely collecting data for the Centre which is concerned with large-scare violations which have been brought to its notice, it is learnt.

The Inspector General of Wetlands is already seized with the complaints of burial of wetlands in Uran. Now, couple of other agencies stepped in, sources said on condition of anonimity.

NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP) have expressed happiness at the development as, they said, biodiversity on the area has to be protected at any cost.

“Our interest is to protect the fragile ecology of Uran and we will approach any authority which is interested in saving the environment,” said Nandakumar Pawar of SEAP.

The prolonged destruction of mangroves and wetlands has been impacting the lives and livelihoods of the fishing community and this has to be addressed without further delay, he said.

“Yes, we have been complaining to the State Government and the CMO has been asking the Forest and Environment departments to examine,” said a NatConnect Foundation spokesperson.  But there has been little action on the ground with FIRs being filed against “unidentified” persons or scapegoats. “It is in this context that the Central intervention is vital,” he said.

NatConnect has recently drawn the attention of the Prime Minister to the violations, particularly the attempts to destroy Panje wetland. As per a series of reports by the BNHS, the destruction will have a direct impact on the flights at the Navi Mumbai Airport, scheduled to be commissioner in three years.

Thousands of birds – ranging from 10,000 to 1,50,000 depending on the season – flock to Panje. If they miss the destination that they are used to, they would create chaos in the sky, struggling for landing and roosting space. This could prove detrimental to the flight safety as not one or two, but hundreds of the birds would swarm the skies, BNHS has warned.

NatConnect also informed the PM, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Control, the Union Commerce Ministry and the Shipping Ministry about the violations in NMSEZ and JNPT SEZ where mangroves and wetlands have been buried. The Commerce Ministry has already infirmed NatConnect that NMSEZ has since been de-notified.

The central agencies have also got hold of the BNHS report on the need to conserve Belpada, Bhedkhal, Panje, NRI and TSC wetlands, it is understood.

The agencies are also keeping track of the activists’ complaints at Nerul, Kharghar, Ulwe, Vashi, apart from Uran.

“We will eagerly await the impact of this development,” Pawar said and expressed the hope that this would lead to some positive action from the Centre.

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