The nexus of Forest Officials and slumlord stand exposed as the Department of Forest sends Show Cause notice to Uday Mohite-an activist with GBGBA, working to save his settlement as well as Mangroves—as a tactic to harass him and thwart his activism. On 28th August 2018 Uday Mohite’s complaint about destruction of Mangrove by slumlords in nexus forest officials was taken cognizance of by the Office of the Collector, Mumbai Suburban District (MSD). This happened after several complaint he made over years to all the concerned authorities. The office of the Collector MSD had written a letter to all the concerned authorities asking to action on the officer as well as the slumlord named in Uday Mohite’s complaint. However, instead of doing so, the forest department sent a Show Cause Notice to Uday Mohite blaming him of destroying the mangroves while the real culprits remain unquestioned.
Uday lives in a dalit majority community called Bheemchhaya part of which was demolished by the Forest Department this monsoon before a stay came from the Bombay High Court. While the stay continuing till today, the slumlord in nexus with the forest officials making illegal structures in the demolished area of the slum and selling it to the slum dwellers whereas the old dwellers of the demolished structures are threatened and thrown out of their land.
The slum dwellers are facing exploitation at many levels. They are exploited and harassed by the illicit nexus of forest officials and slum lords. Moreover, they are victims of government discrimination; authorities overlook the major culprits, while harassing the voiceless poor using the excuse of law enforcement.
For instance, project like coastal road, resort in Essel World etc. will require destruction of mangrove on massive level whereas the settlement of Bheemchhaya is legally protected and sub judice matter, yet the residents are harassed on false grounds.