The Gorai fishermen’s association has written to the Mumbai suburban collector demanding action against the Essel Group for alleged wetland destruction and mangrove destruction at Gorai. Activists and locals allege that work continues in the area despite the High Court’s April 16 order direction to the suburban collector to take action against the group for these violations.
In the letter, the association has alleged that Essel Group is constructing a hotel on Coastal Regulation Zone land. “For providing garden and parking area, mangroves on 60 acres of the 750 acres of mangrove forests in Gorai have been cleared. Around 700 workers are using JCB machines and dumpers to dump soil on these wetland areas for the past three months,” read the letter.
The association also alleges that work is still on in the area at night.
“We know for sure that work is still on in Gorai as locals are also employed by the group. Before the court order, we informed the police officials and Borivali Tehsildar through an official letter, but no action has been taken against the group,” said Neville D’souza, manager of the Gorai fishermen’s association.
“We have always protected the wetlands of Gorai as we care about the environment and it is our sacred fishing ground and we can’t see it being destroyed like this,” adds D’Souza
Mumbai suburban collector Shekhar Chenne said he was aware of the issue and would need to check files to provide authentic information.
The association planned to hold a protest rally against the group and its activities on May 6 and had sought police permission for the same. “They had asked for permission to hold a rally, but we denied it as more than five-six persons are not allowed to assemble during election time for security reasons,” said Mahendra Singh, constable at Gorai police station.
“We are following all the rules and regulations. We have not received any paper from the court,” said Nilay Vaidya, associate vice president, public relations, Essel World.