After encroachment, a new enemy pesters mangroves
Encroachment of mangrove forests along the Mumbai coast is not new. An IRS study had shown that at least 4,000 hectares of mangrove forest along the Mumbai coast had been destroyed and the land reclaimed illegally over the past 30 years.
However, this year, the mangroves on the eastern coast have a new enemy. They are falling prey to pests. Though the authorities have said that the damage due to pests won’t be permanent, environmentalists in the city are worried. Government agencies have asked the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Wood Science to conduct a study and suggest ways to biologically control the pests.
Native vs non-native debate branches out
Just when politics in the city has started revolving around the native versus non-native issue, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s GPS-based tree census has brought forth some disturbing facts, one being more than half the city’s tree cover is non-native. The city has 29.75 lakh trees of 450 varieties, but 52 per cent of them are exotic or of foreign origin.
The disadvantage of such species — planted to get an instant green cover — is that their roots are shallow and are easily uprooted. Four people have died in the city in last six months after trees fell on them, underlining the danger. Ironically, the ‘pro-native’ politicians are least bothered about the non-native vegetation.
Iconic Sea Rock Hotel set to rise from the ashes
The iconic Sea Rock hotel in suburban Mumbai, which was targeted in the 1993 bomb blasts,
is all set to be rebuilt. When opened in 1976, it was the only five-star hotel in the suburbs.
It also used to be a hub for film stars, as it housed a dubbing studio and other luxuries that five-star hotels offer. The hotel couldn’t pick up business after the 1993 blasts and had to be demolished in 2010. Permission for its redevelopment came in from the coastal zone management authority on Wednesday. It will now be developed into a 30-storey hotel.
Seaplane service from Mumbai
PM Narendra Modi is not alone in hitting a controversy over a seaplane ride; seaplane trials by SpiceJet, in association with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings, in Mumbai last week had met a similar fate. Efforts to project the trials as the first-ever use of seaplane in Mumbai were booed on social media, forcing the event to be re-christened as “re-introduction” of the service. A few years ago, an elaborate plan to link tourist destinations across Maharashtra with Mumbai by a seaplane service failed miserably due to lack of customer support. However, the authorities are optimistic this time.
A Madhuri-Renuka film after 23 years
Madhuri Dixit and Renuka Shahane, the lovely sisters from the trendsetter movie Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, are all set to come together after 23 years for a new film. The film will be in Marathi and is yet to be named. Shahane has done several Marathi films earlier. This film, for which filming commenced last week, is expected to be completed in three to four months, and it would be Dixit’s first Marathi film. Documentary-maker Tejas Deoskar, who wrote the script with Madhuri in mind, said he hopes it will be a very distinct film.
Our correspondent in Maharashtra