The state Mangrove Cell has invited bids for construction of a compound wall as part of its efforts to protect mangroves from being encroached across the city. The cell proposes to begin construction of the wall by next month.
There is 5800-hectare of mangrove cover in the city but the 10-foot wall will be constructed only in those parts of the city where encroachments threaten the mangroves. “The wall will be constructed only in areas where there is imminent threat from encroachments or where we have cleared encroachments and they are likely to return. It is not meant for the entire mangrove cover. It will be around 60 kilometre, though not continuous,” said N Vasudevan, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, State Mangrove Cell.
Areas where mangroves are prone to encroachments include Colaba, Trombay, Charkop and Navi Mumbai. To be constructed on the landward side, the wall will be at a maximum distance of 50 metre from the mangroves and will not affect them. “The wall will not be on the seaward side, so the tidal waters will continue to flow freely. It will only prevent people from encroaching the area or entering there,” added Vasudevan.
Officials estimate that the total cost of the project, to be funded by the state’s Mangrove Foundation, would be around Rs 60 crore. However, it will begin the work with an initial cost of Rs 13 crore.
The cell received permission for construction of the wall from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) in April. However, any construction within 50 metre of mangroves requires permission from the Bombay High Court. The cell will soon approach the court for its nod.