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THANE JUDGE TO LOOK INTO THE CASE OF ALLEGED CLEARANCE OF MANGROVES AT PALM BEACH ROAD FOR PROPOSED GOLF COURSE

mangroves--1There is a new twist in the tale. The Mumbai High Court has asked a district magistrate to hold an inquiry into mangrove destruction case filed by a NGO. The NGO is saying that a 52-acre stretch of mangrove plot was allegedly destroyed for a proposed golf course near Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai. It may be recalled that in an interim order last week, the Mumbai High Court had directed CIDCO to create ten breaches, each 25 feet wide, in the mud embankment that was constructed to cut off the flow of tidal water that nourishes the mangroves. The court had also asked J T Bandri – the Divisional Konkan Commissioner, in charge of implementing the HC orders on protection of mangroves, to file a report. The judges remarked that they would not tolerate any violation of the HC orders banning destruction of mangrove areas while hearing the case where in a NGO alleged that CIDCO was clearing 52 acres of eco-sensitive marsh land on Palm Beach Road for a proposed golf course. When the case came up for hearing this week, CIDCO and J T Bandri – the Divisional Konkan Commissioner refuted claims that there were mangroves in the area. The divisional commissioner pointed to satellite maps that reportedly show that the area has water bodies but no mangroves. CIDCO reiterated that they had not given or intended to give any permission for development of the plot. Hence, the Mumbai High Court asked the district judge to hear all parties and submit a report to the court by February 5. The district judge has also been asked to inspect all documentary evidence and seek the opinion of Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre (MRSAC) and other experts. All the parties have been asked to appear before the district judge on October 16, to give oral evidence. Thereafter, the judge will visit the site and verify the documentary evidence and views of experts. The case will next come up for hearing on February 7.

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