A Bombay High Court-appointed state wetland and mangrove panel has directed the City Industrial Development Corpo-ration Ltd (Cidco) to clear within 15 days waste dumped illegally on Bhendkhal wetland, which falls in Uran’s eco-sensitive area.
The committee in its December 9 meeting had taken note of the complaints on the alleged destruction of 150 acres of the 160-acre wetland under Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone and directed Cidco and Raigad district collector to remove the debris and soil dumped at the site within a month. However no action was initiated by Cidco authority throughout January.
A second deadline to clear the area was issued to Cidco at the committee’s 10th meeting on January 30.
The state wetland and mangrove committee was appointed within a month of the Bombay HC ordering a blanket ban on mangrove destruction in the state on September 18, 2018.
Neenu Somraj, member secretary of the committee, Friday said, “We will be again communicating to Cidco to clear the areas of the debris.” Referring to Cidco’s failure to adhere to repeated communication, Somraj said, “The committee doesn’t have power to initiate action or levy fine for non-compliance. However, if the order is not adhered to the district collector can take action under the Environment Protection Act.”
Stalin D, a member of the HC-appointed mangrove protection panel, said, “Cidco is responsible for restoring the Bhendkhal wetlands and cannot shy away from it. They have missed repeated deadlines and now we have given them 15-day extension to restore it. In addition, we have also asked all the district committees to conduct a meeting within 10 days and address mangrove destruction complaints and ensure compliance.”
Tukaram Koli of Paaramparik Machhimar Bachao Kruti Samiti said the Bhendkhal wetland is a rich source and destination for fish-breeding. “Livelihood of many fishermen depend on Bhendkhal wetlands, but now we have been losing all sources one after another rapidly,” Koli said.