A member of the Wetland Grievance Redressal Committee has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and environment ministry to stop the ongoing work of a cycle track along the Powai lake. Stalin D, director of NGO Vanashakti and a member of the Bombay High Court-appointed wetland committee, said that the project would damage the biodiversity of the lake, already threatened by the discharge of untreated sewage.
Powai lake is home to Indian marsh crocodiles protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. “The lake is part of the National Wetland Atlas and as per the guidelines from the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, lakes in the National Wetland Atlas have to be protected. The lake has abundant biodiversity including schedule 1 species of wildlife (Indian marsh crocodile) in it. The crocodiles will be forced to enter the IIT area and that could further create conflict with humans. You are called upon to stop the work immediately and restore the site to its previous state,” read the complaint by Stalin, who said that the project by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and BMC does not have environmental clearance.
“The road will block access to the crocodiles which need to come ashore to bask and lay eggs. I have written to the municipal commissioner to stop the work,” said Stalin who visited the Powai lake on Monday along with a few others.
In June, Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray visited the Powai lake to inspect the work of the cycling and jogging track and said that care would be taken to avoid any damage to the existing flora and fauna present at the site during construction.