Responding to a proposal to declare sites in Uran, including Panje, Bhendkhal and Belpada, as wetlands, Raigad District Collector Nidhi Choudhari has told a Bombay High Court-appointed Mangrove and Wetland Committee that there are no wetlands in Uran, Navi Mumbai.
In a meeting held on November 2, the Konkan divisional commissioner had directed Choudhary to prepare a proposal to declare Panje at Uran in Navi Mumbai as a wetland.
“The district administration, in its final list (after a survey) of newly identified and verified wetlands in line with 2017 wetland rules, had submitted three sites – two from Panvel and one in Alibaug – in 2019. If I am directed, either by the state government or the divisional commissioner to review the list, I will begin the process. Currently, there are three newly identified wetlands from Raigad district. There are no wetlands in Uran,” Choudhari told the committee on Monday.
In September 2017, the Union environment ministry had notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, replacing the 2010 norms. The new rules do not incorporate wetlands in coastal regulation zones (CRZ) and de-recognised salt pans as wetlands. Following, from Raigad district, 130 such zones were proposed. Of them, four were identified as wetlands.
Environment groups, however, have proposed 17 small water bodies in Uran to be incorporated as wetlands. Stalin D, Director of Vanashakti, and a committee member, said: “Reclamation of wetlands in Uran is a serious concern. Panje is a CRZ-1 area and neither the MCZMA (Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority) nor the collector is protecting it. Also, the other areas that have been proposed as wetlands are being reclaimed. Amid this, we got a shocking reply from the Raigad collector that there are no wetlands in Uran.”
Spread across 213 hectares, with 157 hectares as the buffer area for migratory bird roosting, Panje is home to around 1,50,000 migratory and resident birds during the winter.
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