The Mangrove Cell of Maharashtra government has decided to put up fences around some of the most encroached mangroves in Colaba, Worli and Malvani areas as they need protection on priority, an official said.
“The maximum damage to mangrove area has taken place in these areas. Our team has completed the survey of these areas, including route of the fence. The state government’s sanction for Rs three crore is received and the Cell is expected to start the work by next month,” said Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) N Vasudevan.
“The projected cost for construction of fence is Rs six crore, of which Rs three crore should be utilised before the beginning of the monsoon season. The cost is of first phase only. The proposals were being discussed since September last year,” he said.
The Mangrove Cell undertook detailed route mapping and assessed actual encroachment and routes used by people for entering the restricted area of mangroves, he said.
“My team is ready to face some opposition as a section of society would be agitated with we taking protective measures. We know it is work for conservation of environment, hence we will go ahead with the fencing plan,” he said.
In the aftermath of an FIR registered recently against stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma for allegedly destroying mangroves due to illegal construction near his bungalow in Andheri and other similar incidents, the state government’s Mangrove Cell swung into action and came up with a project to construct a fence with Rs 20 crore budget, of which Rs six crore worth plan is approved.
“Mumbai region has total 5,469 hectares of mangrove land, which is notified as a reserved forest. Of this, 2-3 per cent is vulnerable to encroachments and in many pockets, it has been already encroached,” Vasudevan said.
The Mangrove Cell would also use other measures such as CCTV and satellite-based monitoring to keep a check on encroachments, as part of its extensive protection plan.
Most of the encroachments have taken place in areas like Colaba, Trombay, Malvani and Charkop, the official said.