The Navi Mumbai unit of the forest department registered a case against a Karanjade resident for creating a bund at Vaghivali village creek and destroying around 100 mangroves in the process.
The FIR was filed with the NRI Coastal police by Bapu Biru Gade, attached to the Mangrove Conservation Unit of the forest department (Navi Mumbai), after a site visit was made on August 18, 2022. As per the complainant, during a site visit, the forest department officials noticed a man coming out of the creek in a boat. The report highlighted that the man allegedly made a bund with earthen soil to create a pond for fishing. When a forest department official enquired about the man, he identified himself as Kundan Vilash Bhoir and claimed that the ponds belonged to him.
The forest department team observed that 110-125 mangroves have been destroyed by blocking of tidal water flow with a bund. Bhoir allegedly made the earthen dam at survey number 103 of Vaghivali village in Panvel Taluka, affecting the coastal environment.
Meanwhile, environmentalists wondered if this could be a proverbial case of the authorities catching small fish while the big ones escape their net. “While the destruction of mangroves is not at all acceptable, such cases must be thoroughly investigated,” said NatConnect Foundation director BN Kumar.
Mangroves and inter-tidal zones serve as a home to a lot of fish and are natural fishing areas for the local community, said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan. “But captive fishing is definitely not allowed; hence this case must be investigated,” Pawar said.
A case has been registered against Bhoir under section 15 (1) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Last week, the Kamothe police registered a case against an unidentified person for allegedly filling a wetland and destroying mangroves in Kamothe. The case was registered following an inspection of the site which found more than 100 mangrove trees were dead due to illegal filling.