Nearly 400 illegal structures within 50 metres of mangroves were demolished Monday in Charkop’s sectors 1 and 2. The BMC, as per directives of the revenue and forest department, is carrying out a two-day drive to remove illegal structures.
The demolitions were done as per a government resolution (GR) issued in accordance with a Bombay High Court order in 2005 that prohibited any construction within 50 metres of the mangroves, said BMC officials.
“There is no question of issuing notices in this case. On Sunday, we also provided locals with a chance to show proof that they have appropriate permission to build their structures, when we convened a meeting with officials in charge of the demolition. No one had any proof,” said Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner (R South).
Around 50 BMC labourers used five JCB machines and five dumpers to carry out the demolition. A range forest officer, tehsildar (encroachment removal) and assistant municipal commissioner (R South) supervised the demolition. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil (Zone 11) and Deputy Municipal Commissioner BR Marathe were also present.
A Buddha idol housed inside an illegal structure caused a few tense moments during the demolition drive on Monday. Local women reportedly asked the BMC to let the structure remain. However, the officials managed to convince them that the structure was illegal and had to be removed. “We respectfully took possession of the idol and removed the structure,” said Marathe.
Around 200 police personnel were deployed for crowd control. In the past three days, five locals were arrested under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 for construction in the mangrove area withoutpermission. “To ensure there are no problems, we detained six persons under sections 151 of CrPC before the demolition. During the demolition, we detained another six under sections 68 and 69 of CrPC,” said Patil.