Bombay High Court seeks fresh report on mangrove restoration

After going through the report and the photographs, Justice Chellur said, “Situation has become worse. These photos point to newly planted trees which are hardly 2 feet in height. There are hardly any mangroves."

Written by Radhika Ramaswamy | Mumbai | Published: December 23, 2016 2:35 am

The Bombay High Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with an inspection report submitted by the court receiver on the restoration of mangroves in the wetlands of Agasan village of Thane. The chief justice of the Bombay High Court directed the Thane Municipal commissioner, his officials, and forest conservation officer, to conduct a fresh inspection, taking the help of environmental experts.

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A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and justice M S Sonak was hearing a petition filed by locals on the destruction of mangroves and unauthorised construction in Agasan village. The court had appointed the court receiver to conduct an inspection and submit a report.

On Thursday, the receiver submitted a report with photographs and pointed to the court that restoration is taking place in the area. After going through the report and the photographs, Justice Chellur said, “Situation has become worse. These photos point to newly planted trees which are hardly 2 feet in height. There are hardly any mangroves. How can we call this restoration of mangroves?”

The court rapped the officials and the receiver for conducting inspection without the help of experts.

“We expect the team visiting to be more alert and precise. Court receiver has submitted that he has not personally visited the site, nor was aware of the actual situation. This report is not satisfactory,” observed Chellur.

She said that apart from the court receiver, in the next visit, he should be accompanied by environmental experts as well as Thane municipal corporation commissioner, his staff and forest department officials to thoroughly investigate the spot.

The court asked them to provide details on the extent of land, land owned by private properties, initial measurement of mangroves in the area, unauthorised construction and names of people responsible for it and whether any restoration has taken place at all in the report, and not submit a vague report of this manner in the next hearing

“A detailed report with photographs should be placed in the next hearing and we do not expect inspectors and officials who have no knowledge of mangroves to do this. The civic and forest officials should take assistance from those who have knowledge of mangrove restoration,” added Chellur.

 

radhika.ramaswamy@expressindia.com

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