Despite the initiatives taken by NMMC’s anti- encroachment squad against the debris mafia, truckloads of debris were found again on the wetlands. After the proposed plot for a marina project, the relentless debris mafia have targeted a 500m green patch behind Ganpatseth Tandel exhibition ground, which is a stone’s throw from the jogging track of Nerul Lake along the Palm Beach Road. The lake is known as Jewel of Navi Mumbai.
According to some locals, the trees and mangroves behind the ground are being destroyed. Also, the debris is blocking the water line which opens into the lake.
A local said, “NMMC is not doing enough to break the nexus between the debris mafia and land-grabbers. They dump waste on green patches and target encroached lands.” When these spots are turned into dumping grounds, it leads to dust pollution and other health issues as most of the debris is construction waste, the local complained.
“The dumping activity on the green patch has remained unchecked for the last few days. The stretch extends from T S Chanakya signal to Tandel ground. Debris dumping has been going on for some time now but authorities remain mute spectators,” said activist Santush Patil.
Now, due to the dumping, residents are worried that the proposal to beautify the Tandel ground for sports and other activities will have to be derailed.
NMMC commissioner Ramaswami said, “Civic officers have been asked to beef up surveillance activity at all green spots that are prone to debris dumping and take stringent action against the perpetrators.”
Tushar Pawar, NMMC’s deputy commissioner (solid waste management), said, “We are digging up trenches around patches where debris is being dumped. However, at Tandel ground, trucks can easily enter and dump waste, making our task more challenging.”
But locals are not ready to lend their ears to anymore excuses. “NMMC must initiate strategic measures to stop these racketeers who are involved in land grabbing here. They are killing the green cover,” said a resident, Suraj Patil.
“All agencies are passing the buck. This will encourage the debris and land mafia. Soon, illegal slums will come up on these wetlands,” said Kishore Raut, another resident.
Belapur ward officer Shashikant Tandel said, “Officials of the anti-nuisance squad of zone-I have been instructed to stop such dumping and take s action.”