Jolted by the recent invitation of bids for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL),the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) will hold a public meeting to devise a strategy to ensure that the authorities preserve the ecological system of the areas.
BNHS has maintained that the MTHL project,worth almost Rs 8,000 crore and proposed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA),will affect thousands of flamingos which visit the mudflats at Sewri every year. We wanted the MMRDA to shift the alignment of the bridge by 500 to 700 metres,which would save the birds habitat. However,there have been no clear indications about whether that alignment will be changed or not, said Atul Sathe,BNHS spokesperson.
The project was delayed for a while. But now that bids have been invited for the project,BNHS felt the need to create awareness about the issue and also ensure that the birds habitat is protected, he said. Thus,a meeting of civil society members and other wildlife NGOs will be convened on Wednesday to brainstorm about how the authorities can be convinced to protect the areas. We are not opposed to the bridge,but feel it will adversely affect the birds habitat, said Sathe.
BNHS with the help of researchers had studied the areas and classified it as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and also notified it as a potential wetland area which needs protection.