A large belt of mangrove forest on the western bank of the Thane Creek has received a new lease of life after the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee suggested steps to preserve and develop it on Wednesday. The committee,in a hearing on the private forest issue,has recommended that about 1,750 acres of Godrej-owned mangrove lands stretching across Vikhroli and Thane should be managed by the state Forest Department and that a trust should be formed to protect it.
This trust would comprise five members two nominated members from Godrej and Boyce,two eminent citizens and will be headed by the chief secretary of the state,said Rajendra Manglurkar,joint secretary of the state Revenue and Forest department.
Manglurkar said,this trust will be involved in watching over the forest and saving them for any impending destruction. They will also be responsible to develop this mangrove tracts and maintain them.
The committee also said that fund collected from illegal residents for regularising their homes should be partially used in protection and development of the mangroves in the region. The remaining funds will be used to afforest other regions of the state,Manglurkar said.
These mangroves on the western banks of Thane are the single largest mangrove belt in Mumbai,a substantial tract of which is adjoining the Godrej & Boyce Township. Since 1985,the Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Foundation has been maintaining these tracts.
However,land reclamation and development have of late been causing largescale destruction of these forests.