State clears scheme to protect mangroves

Mumbai: In a bid to save mangroves spread over 30,000 hectares of government and private land, the State government has come up with a plan to create employment opportunities linked to mangroves for the people staying near them.

The State Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the Mangrove Protection and Employment Generation Scheme for 2017-18 at a cost of ₹15 crore. The government has selected 50 villages in the coastal districts of Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg under the scheme.

A Mangrove Co-Management Committee will run the project, under which businesses such as crab farming, bee-keeping, rice farming, fish farming and tourism will be set up.

The businesses can be run through a committee or by an individual. “In case of businesses run by a committee, the government will invest 90% and beneficiaries will have to invest 10%. In the case of individual businesses, 75% will be invested by the government and 25% by the individual,” said an official.

While 50 villages have been selected for 2017-18, the scheme will cover 75 villages in 2018-19 and 2019-20. “The idea is to make people’s livelihood dependent on and linked to the mangrove cover. It will mean people will voluntarily come forward to save the mangrove cover. The government believes that people’s participation is important in conservation of mangroves,” said the official.

The official said the project aims to ensure group benefits in villages by setting up the organisational structure. The committee will also prepare a micro plan for mangrove maintenance and work on conservation, protection, setting up protective fences and improving the quality of mangroves.

The project will be financed through the district development fund and mangrove foundation set up by the government. A State-level committee headed by the Principal Chief Forest Conservator (Wildlife), including district collectors of coastal regions, will be formed to coordinate the project. The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) will supervise the entire project.

Stalin D. of Vanshakti, an organisation working in the field of mangrove conservation, said, “It is a welcome move. Community efforts to save mangroves will turn out to be very effective. It is a way of supporting existing laws by also ensuring financial benefits to community members.”

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 5:45:15 PM |

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