It’s the NMTV Impact that came as bad news for land mafia working on grabbing the mangrove stretch on Palm Beach Road for commercial exploitation. CIDCO has signed a MOU with the Conservation Action Trust to develop the mangrove stretch on the Palm Beach Road into a Mangrove Wetland Center. The MOU was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in Mantralya. NMTV News had first aired the report on how land mafia was eying the luscious green mangrove belt of Palm Beach Road and attempting to commercially exploit it. We had met Debi Goenka – Member of Conservation Action Trust on the subject in December 2005 and submitted visuals of how mangroves in the stretch were being burnt and chemically killed. CAT had filed a case in Mumbai High Court. Responding to this PIL filed by the Bombay Environmental Action Group in the year 2005, the High Court directed the state to declare coastal areas as mangrove area and reserve it. Later a mapping exercise was carried out in Navi Mumbai and over 3000 hectares was notified as mangrove land. 2500 of this hectare of the land will be made into a mangrove wetland center in a joint venture of the State Forest Department, CIDCO and Conservation Action Trust. The trio signed a MOU to built the mangrove wetland center in Mantralaya in the presence of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, State Forest Minister Babarao Pachpute, CIDCO Chairman Nakul Patil, CIDCO MD G S Gill, CIDCO Jt. MD Deepak Kapoor and CAT member Debi Goenka. Both CIDCO MD G S Gills and Debi Goenka were upbeat about the mangrove wetland center. Mangrove Wetland Center will be state of the art and though different from the Bhandup Mangrove Wetland Center will attain international repute. While residents of Navi Mumbai will desperately await the mangrove wetland center, it comes as a major relief that no matter how much the land mafia tried, Navi Mumbai will not loose this patch of the luscious mangrove cover.
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