Is the State Mangrove Cell working properly to conserve the ecology?
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the state Mangrove Cell of Maharashtra, set up in 2011 to protect and expand the mangrove cover across the state, might not be efficiently handling the conservation of mangroves in and around Mumbai.
The reply to the application says that a total of 93 complaints were received by the forest officials from local people about destruction of mangrove. The reply says that the complaints highlighted the problem of destruction of mangroves in various parts of the city and due to various reasons. In Kalwa, Kausa and Mumbra, the complaints were regarding the destruction of mangroves due to dumping of solid waste while in Charkop and Kandivli, the complaints pertained to illegal constructions which were usurping mangrove area.
However, as per the officials only five of these complaints were converted into First Offence Reports (FORs) for which action was initiated and out of these five, three were related to blocking natural flow to mangroves. The sources also indicated that there is lack of man power for handling the complaints as despite appointment of extra range forest officer, verification of most of the complaints lies pending.