NMMC’s petition in High Court seeking consent for destroying mangroves for cleaning holding ponds has been challenged by the Bombay Environmental Action Group. The case has brought to light a concerning factor – that is different government bodies are seeking the High Court’s clearance to destroy nearly 1000 hectares of mangroves. If you think global warming would have deterred authorities from indulging in environment destruction, you are thinking wrong. What looks like a well planned conspiracy – the authorities first sell off available plots to developers and private builders and then target forest land, mangroves and CRZ areas for public related projects like rail, road and transport. Classic examples are CIDCO, NMMC and JNPT – while one says it wants to destroy mangroves to make roadways or rail lines the other says it wants to save the city from flooding by clearing mangroves. The hassles for the government bodies started back in 2005, when hearing a PIL, the HC ordered the state to not permit dumping or construction activities on mangroves or CRZ areas. The state had a lot to loose if this happened for obvious reasons. Since then the state has been approaching the High Court for permissions to destroy mangroves in the name of various public related projects. JNPT wants to destroy mangroves on a stretch of 200 hectares of land for the Nhava Sheva Sea Link. CIDCO seeks permission for Koperkhairane-Airoli road and Nerul Uran Rail Link. NMMC wants permissions to destroy mangroves so that it can clear holding ponds and save the city from flooding. And all these have been challenged by the Bombay Environmental Action Group.
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