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Hills in Dindoshi are destroyed, says NGO

Friday, May 22, 2015
By Abhishek Vissapragada

The NGO has alleged denuding and flattening of hills near SGNP

Vanashakti, a NGO based in Mumbai received a reply from the Forest Department of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Thursday with regards to a letter written to various authorities. The letter alleges that the hills in Dindoshi are being flattened and denuded and this is taking place in the vicinity of the SGNP.

Stalin D, Director of Vanashakti says, “The officials called me today and informed that the area mentioned in your letter and evidences is actually the property of a trust and thereby is private property. But this is surprising to know as I wonder how can a hill be owned by a private owner,” said Stalin.

He has sited a Supreme Court order that restricts any activity from being conducted in the forest area. “We are aware that the Supreme Court has granted relief to flat owners who are residing in the forest areas around SGNP. But we are sure that it has not allowed fresh forest areas to be cleared and hills modified, flattened, water courses altered etc,” Stalin pointed out.

He has even questioned as to whether even private owners can do any activity in the area. “Is the private owner even allowed to make changes to the area? Can the private owners defy the orders of the Supreme Court? Couldn't the area be used for charitable purposes?” asked Stalin.

The NGO is waiting for the Collector's reply at the present. “If the Collector also doesn't take any action, then we will sue him too,” said Stalin. Stalin had earlier received an e-mail from Vikas Gupta, CCF and Director of SGNP. “Will get it verified on ground. Have asked Mr Dabholkar ACF to inquire and report. Thanks for your feed back,” quoted the email.

Vanashakti had sent satellite images of an area that has been deforested and has requested various authorities to prevent any further deforestation in the area. “This site lies in the mountains of Dindoshi  ( Malad-Goregaon) behind the IT park and New MHADA Colony backside. Over the past 8 years, a steady transformation of landscape and denuding of trees is happening at the site,” quotes the letter. The NGO has alleged that a wall has been built to deprive trees in the vicinity from receiving water during monsoons.

“In 2014 the remaining forests were burnt down inside the wall. Security men prevent people from entering the site hence we have had to take pictures from a distance and also take re-course to satellite imagery,” Stalin said and disclosed that the activity of denuding and flattening of hills is underway and the work is done on Saturdays and Sundays.

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