A group of city residents have moved the Bombay High Court highlighting a potential threat to mangroves in suburban Versova, from the proposed construction of three link roads in the area. In a PIL filed before a bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar, the petitioners, all residents of a private housing society in Versova, said the Maharashtra government had proposed to construct three link roads between Versova and Lokhandwala areas. The proposed roads, however, will destroy a major portion of mangroves around the Versova coast, the PIL claimed.
According to the petitioners’ lawyer, Shreni Shetty, the residents first wrote to the state authorities in 2013, pointing out that the contractor carrying out soil testing for the project, had dumped the equipment close to the mangroves. However, they did not receive any response from the state, Shetty told the bench. They continued raising the issue with several state departments and finally approached the high court, the lawyer said.
According to the PIL, the proposed plan for the three elevated roads does not follow the model for sustainable development, since it will lead to the destruction of a major chunk of mangrove cover in the area. Besides, environmental laws and previous orders of the high court prohibit construction work in mangrove areas, it said. The petitioners also said the state could make some adjustments to the alignment of the proposed roads, to ensure minimal damage to the mangroves. The bench directed the petitioners to serve a notice to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other government departments concerned.