Sun sets on Mandarmoni construction

KOLKATA, 30 JUNE: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were promulgated in Mandarmoni, stopping all illegal construction near the beach. This happened after a mob from the nearby villages forced police to release labourers caught red-handed carrying out construction near the Mandarmoni beach, violating the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The restriction is, however, limited to transport of construction activities and material and will not affect tourists. In reaction to this, a section of local Trinamul leaders in East Midnapore has threatened a movement similar to Nandigram if locals, dependent on the tourism industry, are deprived of their livelihoods.
On 17 June, construction activities were in full swing when the additional SP, Mr Rishikesh Meena, raided the spot and detained five labourers for interrogation. Soon a mob from the nearby village gheraoed him and forced him to release the detainees.
“Since East Midnapore is a sensitive area, our officers had to release them,” said Mr AK Biswas, SP, East Midnapore.
Mandarmoni falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone category-III and almost all of the hotels on the beach are in clear violation of the CRZ notification and Environment Protection Act. Moreover, Calcutta High Court had also banned construction on the beach.
Mr Mamud Hossain, saha-sabhadhipati of East Midnapore zilla parishad, said: “The coastal regulation zone is very vague. The government should have marked a line beyond which there can be construction.” If a HC order is being violated, then the hotel owners who are sitting safely in Kolkata should be arrested, he added.
Mr Rishikesh Meena said that 16 people were named in an FIR lodged with the Ramnagar Police Station since they had stopped policemen from carrying out their duties. East Midnapore district magistrate, Ms Archana Meena, said action would be taken against the hoteliers.
Mr Sitangshu Giri, pradhan of the Kalindi gram Panchayat, asked why the government doesn’t think of environment when many VIPs and VVIPs from the city come to spend their vacations here.
“If Haripur can have a nuclear power plant, why can’t Mandarmoni have a few hotels? What happens to CRZ when it comes to Digha? If the government keeps on oppressing like this, there will soon be a protest movement,” he said.
In a meeting held in Mandarmoni a couple of days back, some Trinamul leaders had said that there will be a Nandigram-like movement if people are deprived of their livelihoods. The Trinamul MLA, Mr Deeptendu Adhikari, also attended the meet.

Soma Basu

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