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BJP MLA’s kin booked for destroying mangroves

Police have also seized two dumpers and arrested dumper drivers from Kanakia Nagar for illegal reclamation of wetlands.

A case has been filed against BJP MLA Narendra Mehta’s younger brother Vinod, brother-in-law Rajnikanth Singh and five others for destruction of mangroves and wetlands at Kanakia Nagar in Mira Road. The Director of Seven Eleven Construction company Vinod had caused destruction to mangroves thrice in this area. The police have seized two dumpers and arrested drivers from this place. Large number of mangroves and wetlands in Mira Road are being reclaimed for constructing of housing complexes. Even though residents and environment activists had filed complaint with the police earlier about the devastation of mangroves but they used to turn a blind eye towards this issue.

Environment activists have filed complaint pertaining filling of wetlands with District collector Mahender Kalyankar and police superintendent of Thane Rural Mr. Mahesh Patil. Later, the collectorate directed the state revenue department to initiate action against Vinod.

Jagdish Shinde Senior inspector from Mira Road Police station said, “We had arrived with a team of police personnel at the spot and seized the dumpers and two drivers. Even the construction work of Mehta’s club house was happening at the same location. Massive destruction of wetlands was happening at Kanakia. Several trees have been cut in the area to make way for construction purposes.”

Earlier residents had also filed a complaint with Talathi Rohan Vaibhav and Tahsildar Kisan Badane but no action was taken against the accused for causing destruction to the environment. Later on a complaint was filed against Vinod, Rajnikant Singh, Hareshwar Patil, dumpers driver Vasant Tavare and Ashok Yadav. Police have arrested both Tavare and Yadav. A case was earlier filed against Vinod for causing destruction to environment by reclaiming mangrove land at Mira Road Police Station. Over the years several mangroves in Kanakia area, a massive residential locality, have been destroyed by dumping garbage and diverting the creek water. It has been alleged that dense mangrove belts in and around Kanakia Complex are being systematically destructed by dumping garbage and diverting the creek water so as to facilitate construction of multi-storey residential and commercial buildings.

The Bombay High Court had in 2005, following a public interest litigation filed by the Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) directed a total freeze on the destruction and cutting of mangroves in the state. BEAG had knocked at the high court’s door expressing concern over the growing destruction of mangroves in Mira-Bhayander.

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