#SaveMumbaiMangrovesWetlands

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Hon’ble Shri Uddhav Thackeray and Shri Aditya Thackeray:

We congratulate you for firmly handling the corona crisis.

Once the crisis wanes, we request you to look at the grave environmental crisis gripping Mumbai Metropolitan region (MMR).

There has been a rampant destruction of Mangroves, Wetlands and Hills in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) under the guise of infrastructure development.

We are not against infrastructure that creates jobs and boosts the economy, apart from reduces the hardships of the rapidly expanding City.

But, Sir, you will appreciate the fact that the development should not be so blind that it destroys the nature.

For instance, the ecologically sensitive Uran, across Mumbai Harbour. Nearly 20,000 hectares of the total 32,000 hectares, rich with mangroves and wetlands, has been lost in the name of infrastructure projects.

As if the damage done is not enough, the Navi Mumbai SEZ (in which the State if a 26% partner through CIDCO), the JNPT have been destroying whatever little mangroves and mangroves are remaining.

The huge mangrove loss at Pagote, the wetland burial at Bhendkhal and land-grab at Panje ate some of the instances of the destruction of the nature.

The High Court appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee has repeatedly directed CIDCO and the Raigad District Collector to restore the mangroves and wetlands. Yet, the authorities do not act.

What is more, CIDCO has covered the entire mangrove-wetland zone as part of its Development Plan for Dronagiri.

Sir, we and other environmentalists have been fighting for saving Panje wetland as a Bird Sanctuary and preserve the bio-diversity. The place attracts up to 1,50,000 birds. Moreover, local fishermen depend on this kind of wetlands.

Uran fishermen are the worst neglected lot. They have been denied of their natural course of income/survival due to the various projects such as ONGC, JNPT now NMSEZ. The project proponents are robbing them of whatever few pockets are left. How do we expect them to survive?

Regarding the Hills, sir, after a great deal of campaign, the further destruction of Parsik Hills has been stopped. But now CIDCO wants to construct affordable housing along the hills. The construction will further decay the bio-diversity and endanger the residents of the CIDCO’s proposed projects. This project has to be shelved.

Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, sir, has planned to rejuvenate the vast Parsik Hill patches destroyed by rampant blasting by greedy quarry owners. NMMC is taking the help of TERI. They must be encouraged and CIDCO discouraged.

We shall write to you directly and keep updating you.

Yours sincerely.

B N Kumar – Director, NatConnect Foundation

NandaKumar Pawar – Head, Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

Tukaram Koli – Paaramparik Machhimar Bachao Kruti Samiti