AS THE Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) prepares to begin work on the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) received the first installment of Rs 3.32 crore on Tuesday for mitigation efforts for flamingos and other migratory birds, to offset the negative impact of the MTHL construction. The Society was appointed earlier this year to monitor the impact of the construction of MTHL on flamingos and other water birds in the area.
BNHS proposes to use the first installment of the funds for creating a comprehensive baseline data across the eastern seafront that stretches from Mumbai to Uran in Navi Mumbai. This will help them monitor the impact of the construction on the birds and then mitigate it, official said. Beginning next week, a team of 30 people will be working towards creating this data, working on 15 to 20 key flamingo and migratory bird sites. Officials tout this to be the most comprehensive data on the subject prepared so far.
“We already have prior data but this will be most comprehensive data on the subject and will be prepared over a period of one year,” Dr Deepak Apte, BNHS Director told The Indian Express. “This will be the first time we will be taking data from different sites at the same time. We have never taken simultaneous data across seascape before. This will help understand a whole range of topics concerning species-wise bird population, movement pattern of migratory birds and use of entire seascape by these birds. It will also help identify sites where restoration can be done,” added Apte. On the issue of the project affecting the habitat of the water birds, Apte said, “The construction will definitely take away some of their habitats so we have to see how best we can mitigate it and the key will be to provide them a safe habitat,” he added. “We will be monitoring the effect of construction work in the next decade,” he further added.
MMRDA will be pumping in Rs 32 crore over 10 years towards flamingo mitigation efforts. “We also propose to use the funds to import Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTT). They are satellite transmitters that will help us to understand the migration pattern of these birds. We will be seeking permission from the Government of India to import them,” Apte said. The funds will be provided to BNHS through the government’s Mangrove Foundation as they have been appointed to monitor the Society’s work towards flamingo mitigation. The MMRDA proposes to begin construction of the 22-km Sewri-Nhava Sheva sea-link by the end of this year and has received permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to work through the night and all through the year, including times when the migratory birds flock to the city.