In a recent initiative aimed at addressing the persistent problem of unauthorised parking at Aarey Milk Colony, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) authorities have initiated a stringent campaign to book offenders. During a targeted operation conducted this Tuesday, six vehicles that were allegedly illegally parked on forest land in the colony were confiscated. Additionally, strict directives have been issued to take decisive action against individuals trespassing on the protected forest area.

Dr V Clement Ben, additional principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF), Western Wildlife Region Mumbai; SGNP Director and Conservator of Forest G Mallikarjun; Deputy Director of SGNP (South) Dr Revati Kulkarni Patil; Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Sudhir Sonawale; and Range Forest Officer (RFO) Narendra Muthe visited Aarey Milk Colony on Tuesday and night patrolling was conducted.

RFO Muthe said, “On Tuesday, we conducted night patrolling in Aarey Milk Colony with senior officials, which was when we found some illegally parked vehicles on land belonging to the forest department opposite to Modern Bakery. We have registered offences against the owners of these vehicles and they have been taken in our custody.” The forest department has also appealed to locals to refrain from indulging in Illegal encroachment, trespassing or littering on forest land or else strict action would be taken against them.

Dr Jalpesh Mehta, chairperson, Empower Foundation, said, “Aarey forest is a biodiversity hotspot of Mumbai and home to wildlife, including leopards. Besides nature enthusiasts, it also attracts trespassers who create a nuisance by drinking alcohol and playing loud music in the forest area. They leave behind garbage and broken glass bottles, which harms animals. The forest department taking action against such elements is a welcome move and a sustainable way of monitoring and managing this will help keep Aarey and its wildlife safe.”

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