Days after three people drowned in the Powai lake, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has banned boating in the lake until ‘illegal activities were curbed and a standard operating procedure formulated’. The hydraulic engineering department issued the orders to the Maharashtra State Angling Association (MSAA) Thursday.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee said, “It is important to ensure safety and security of people. I have, thus, given directions to the hydraulic engineering department to stop all boating activities in the Powai lake until the Angling Association comes up with a standing operating procedure that is approved by the police.”
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He added that a case of illegal encroachments with the Angling Association was currently pending in the Bombay High Court. The BMC had issued a notice in 2014, asking the association to remove encroachments in the form of houseboats. However, the MSAA moved court and a stay order was granted in the matter.
The association has now cried foul over the ban on boating activities. President of the MSAA, Zeeshan Ahmed, stated that angling was a sport and they had the licence for fishing activities till 2020.
“We have complied with all the norms of the BMC. The boat that was involved in the incident entered through an unauthorised entry point. The 350-odd members of the club take out the boats for fishing and we have no connection with the incident whatsoever,” he said. Quoting the ongoing litigation, Ahmed added that the club had been around for the past 80 years and it was wrong for the BMC to ban the boats as the case was pending in court.
An FIR has been registered by the Powai police station and the BMC has given their statement for it. Senior inspector of Powai police station Bhai Mahadeshwar said that they had registered an FIR against the houseboat rider on charges of culpable homicide and abetment.
“While the FIR has been registered against the rider, we will investigate the case and find out who actually was responsible for the incident. The investigation is at a preliminary stage,” Mahadeshwar said.
Three people died and five others were rescued after a boat capsized during a boating trip in Powai lake on December 24.