The Bombay high court had banned any kind of construction or reclamation of wetlands across the state.
Mumbai: In an initiative to curb down the reclamation and commercial destruction on wetlands, the Konkan Wetlands Redressal Committee is planning to take back wetlands from private owners if they are not able to protect it. In 2013, the Bombay high court had banned any kind of construction or reclamation of wetlands across the state. However, environmentalists have asserted that the wetlands that fall under private ownership are more prone to being destroyed, as the government owned wetlands are still protected by the forest regulations.
“In any case of destruction or reclamation on the wetlands, if it falls under private lands, the owners are liable to restore the wetland area. If they are not able to restore the land to its original condition or lack funds for the same, then they have to give up the land,” said Jayram Gowda, member secretary, Wetlands Committee and deputy conservator of forests (mangrove cell). Wetlands under private ownership ancestrally belong to the inhabitants that used the land for fishing activities, crab-cultivating or as saltpans. They help in reducing the impacts of flooding and maintaining the water quality in rivers. They are important for recharging groundwater.