A member of the state mangroves committee and an independent environmentalist have filed two separate complaints, alleging destruction of mangroves and illegal reclamation of tidal flats along the Sagar Matha Club in Navy Nagar, Colaba. While there has been no official response from the defence department, the state mangrove cell confirmed no permission for reclamation had been taken, but said no mangrove trees have been destroyed so far.

On Wednesday, Stalin D, member of the mangroves committee and director of environmental non-governmental organisation Vanashakti, filed a complaint in which he alleged the dumping of stone and debris along Sagar Matha Club was one of the largest environmental violations recorded in the city by any defence establishment. Photographs showing dumped stones and debris as well as an excavator machine being used across an acre, less than 50m from mangroves, were submitted as evidence.

On Tuesday, activist Sanjay Kokate had alleged debris was being dumped in the same area, despite a February order from the Bombay high court directing no reclamation be carried out in intertidal areas, in south Mumbai. Both complaints noted that the reclamation was a violation of coastal regulation zone norms and the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

Jagdish Patil, Konkan commissioner and head of the mangrove committee, said, “Despite repeated reminders, complaints of such alleged violations are being received. We have taken cognisance and a proper investigation will be done.”

“We have directed the forest department and our officers to visit the site and submit a report at the earliest for follow up action,” said Mumbai city collector and district magistrate Shivaji Jondhale. Jondhale said no permissions have been given for any reclamation activity in the area.

An army officer from Sagar Matha Army Club, requesting anonymity, said, “This area is being eroded with tidal water eating into the club premises. It might lead to flooding this monsoon. The excavator machine belongs to us, and only stones have been dumped within defence premises to stop this erosion. No mangroves or marine life has been affected by the work.”

First Published: Apr 18, 2019 15:07 IST