Nearly eight months after the state’s decision to notify all mangroves on public land as ‘reserved forests’, around 6,000 hectares of mangroves on government land in Thane district will soon be declared reserved forests. The Thane district collector said the proposal for notification sent by the forest department would be processed within three days. Also, as and when all mangroves areas on public land in the state are notified, the state would have around 17,286 hectares of mangrove ‘reserved forests’, according to the mangrove cell.
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell, said 8,662 hectares of mangroves on public land in the state were under its jurisdiction at present. Of these, 3,998 hectares are already declared reserved forests, while the remaining are yet to be elevated from the status of ‘protected forests’.
Since the state took the decision in June 2013, forest and district officials have been jointly surveying mangrove lands and demarcating areas for the notification. The mangrove cell sent the proposal seeking notification of 1,471 hectares of mangroves on government land in Navi Mumbai to the Thane collector’s office a month ago.
These 1,471 hectares were earlier declared ‘protected forests’ and as per the government resolution in June 2013, are to be declared reserved forests. While limited human activity is permitted in ‘protected forest’ areas, once a forest settlement officer settles claims of all inhabitants in ‘reserved forests’, all human activity is strictly prohibited in the area. In Mumbai district, 3,998 hectares have been notified as reserved forests.
Meanwhile, the divisional forest officers from Dahanu division also sent a proposal to the Thane collector’s officer around two months ago to notify 4,479 hectares as ‘reserved forests’, said a senior official from the forest department.
However, Thane collector P Velrasu said the proposals were submitted Wednesday. “We will process it in three days. After that, the proposal will be sent to the state government,” he added.
“The demarcation of some areas needs to be reviewed and we will take this up with the chief secretary Tuesday,” said Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary, revenue and forests department.