11 May, 2021

The Cement Coast

Despite the SC verdict, rampant construction plays havoc with the city's vital mangrove cover

Abhijit Bhatlekar
The Cement Coast
A recent letter from the ministry of environment and forests has been reason for much jubilation for Mumbaikars. The letter instructs the Usha Madhu Cooperative Society—promoters of an ambitious 18-hole golf course project in Goregaon in north-west Mumbai—to stop developmental work with immediate effect. It says that having received a "large number of representations against it", the ministry looked into the matter and has concluded that the "clearance (of the project) is suspended forthwith (because of the) destruction of mangroves at the site". The latter added that "no developmental activity should be taken up till the matter is examined in the ministry and decision is taken in this regard".

The ministry's decision is seen as a harbinger for the ecological safeguarding of the city despite the heavyweight lobbying against it. Mangroves are scruffy-looking, wild varieties of tough plants that typically grow along coastlines. They cover 39 sq km of land girdling Mumbai along the coast and the creeks that run through the region. Of course, this land can be very valuable...

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