July 3, 2021 2:29:19 am
In an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court on June 30, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has denied all allegations of non-compliance regarding the transfer of mangrove land from the port authority’s property in Uran, Raigad to the state forest department.
The HC had on September 2018 ordered that mangroves on all government land be transferred to the forest department within three months.
As per department data, there are 1,194 hectare of mangroves in Uran that need to be handed over for protection and notified as reserve forests under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The 2018 order concerns protection of over 3,000 hectares of mangroves across the state.
Mumbai-based NGO Vanashakti, last December, had served JNPT with a contempt notice for failing to transfer mangroves to the department.
Subsequently, in January this year, Vanashakti had filed a fresh public interest litigation (PIL) to expedite the implementation of the HC order of September 2018. The PIL alleges that there has been willful destruction and reclamation of mangroves by various authorities, including JNPT, in violation of environmental safeguards.
In response to the January PIL, a JNPT representative has denied that they “have violated or committed willful disobedience of the (HC) final order and judgment”.
In its new affidavit, JNPT has said that the state has not directly approached it seeking the transfer of mangrove land. On the contrary, after receiving Vanashakti’s contempt notice last December, JNPT itself had written to the mangrove cell the next month, asking for “details about JNPT’s mangrove vegetation land out of 1,194 hectare in Raigad district”, it added.
The forest department subsequently wrote to JNPT in February and May on “transferring mangrove forest to mangrove cell”.
JNPT has now approached the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre for demarcation of mangrove area under its jurisdiction.
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