Residents Fight For Mangroves In Mumbai
January 20, 2010: Millat Nagar in Andheri West in Mumbai was once a lush stretch of mangroves. Between 1999-2002, approximately 50,000 truckloads of debris and an upcoming golf course and villa scheme destroyed the 500 acre mangrove forest.
The Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) investigated the matter and presented proof that the permissions granted to the builders were based on faulty information to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on September 30, 2002. The MoEF subsequently suspended the environmental clearance. This was challenged in the Bombay High Court. The BEAG successfully challenged the High Court order and got it stayed by the Supreme Court of India.
However, in the last few months, watchful residents have noticed that the dumping has begun again with trucks filled with debris visiting the area between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. to avoid being spotted. Having understood the value of these mangroves post the catastrophic floods of 26/7, people in the area have sent a letter to Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests, Mrs. Valsa Nair Singh, Secretary, Environment, Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and Mr. S. S. Sandhu, Divisional Commissioner, Konkan Division Government of Maharashtra requesting them to take immediate action. Based on a complaint filed by BEAG which was investigated by the Tahsildar, the Bombay Police have registered a FIR against the builders.