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Mangrove cell seeks clarity on construction of cycling track at Powai lake

The proposed cycling track project along the Powai Lake boundary has come under opposition from citizens, environmentalists and BJP in the BMC.

Residents and activists have opposed the construction of the track saying it will impact the habitat of the Indian marsh crocodiles. (PTI)

The state government-run mangrove cell has raised concerns and has sought clarity on the nature of construction for the cycling track project at Powai Lake.

The proposed cycling track project along the Powai Lake boundary has come under opposition from citizens, environmentalists and BJP in the BMC. Residents and activists have opposed the construction of the track saying it will impact the habitat of the Indian marsh crocodiles.

In a letter to BMC, Neenu Somraj, Deputy Conservator of Forests, (mangrove cell) stated, “If the work is going on in this place (Powai Lake), it should be stopped immediately.”

The letter sought clarity on the nature of the construction. It also asked BMC to submit a site inspection report along with the actions/construction on the site and the permissions obtained for the cycling track constructions.

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In a letter dated October 8 to the BMC, the mangrove cell has also upheld the status of Powai Lake as a protected wetland in line with previous orders of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

BMC stated that the work at the site has been halted and a committee of environmental experts has been set up “to discuss the lake’s development and carry out any mitigation measures required to not just alleviate but also enhance the lake and its surroundings”.

Stalin D, Director of the environment group, Vanashakti, obtained under the concerned letter under a Right to Information (RTI) request this week. “According to the National Wetland Atlas of the Supreme Court, Powai Lake is an important wetland in terms of biodiversity and should be protected to conserve wetlands,” read the letter.

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Stalin D had also filed a complaint with the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. In a clarification released on October 12, the civic body pointed out that the project does not qualify for environmental clearance by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority.

Powai Lake, a man-made wetland is polluted due to the discharge of sewage and siltation. Currently, nearly 25 per cent of the lake is covered with water hyacinths, floating vegetation and garbage.

Recently, environmentalists wrote to the civic body to stop spraying chemicals in Powai Lake to control water hyacinths.

First published on: 25-10-2021 at 00:52 IST
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