Response to Snehal Fernandes tweet. Opp. Inorbit (once upon) mangroves

I just came across this tweet accidentally

and since it is a matter I was closely associated with I am correcting the facts, which have not been correctly presented by Snehal and giving additional background information.

The response, thought I am keeping short is longer than a few tweets and so I am carrying it here for her and others reference.


Hi Snehal, I just came across this tweet.

NONE of those mangroves were saved. The underlying issue which destroyed the mangroves set-in in 2002 and has gone unaddressed since. Separately it is a fight over land between two very powerful parties and nobody in Bollywood gets into these messy affairs. They have careers and families. Environmentalists have love and fresh air. The star power created a temporary hype and public and media love that more than nuance and outcome.

I saw the mangroves healthy and tall till 2001 and then gone in a quick move. We had quite a few successes then but this was not one. And by “We” I mean an absolute handful and basically Pravin Choudhary and myself. Nobody cared then and it was a different era.

By the time Irfan came into the picture the original mangroves were gone for more than two years. The immediate trigger was earth filling and a possible loss of view if a building came in front.

Irfan was active for barely a month in 2004-2005. Also Ashish Vidyarthi and a few others from Yug Dharma. Sutapa was longer. I tried to make her understand the need for funds to carry out the real drudge work which brings outcome. I have emails with Sutapa and others in the neighbourhood informing them of the larger issues and asking for support to carry out the course of action developed by me at MSI, which was very clear and effective.

Complete lack of resources and a burn out being faced my me could have been addressed if we had hired a few people and had an office etc. These were all very rich people.

I had co-founded MSI Mangrove Society of India (Mumbai Chapter) in 2002 and was solo leading the efforts through from 2003 till 2009 and then a bit longer before giving up completely. Almost all mangrove complaints in the Mumbai region would land on my phone after I had a cell phone in 2003.

I remember Nadia Menezes very well from 2004. Indian Express carried a long series on different mangrove pockets in Mumbai then and she had covered quite a few and would regularly be in touch. I might have a few clippings from then.

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