Mumbai: Houseboats operating illegally on Powai lake?

MNS Corporator Avinash Sawant says he has complained many times about the Maharashtra State Angling Association using the houseboats illegally, but the BMC has not taken action

A corporator from Powai has alleged that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is ignoring complaints about houseboats being used illegally on Powai Lake by the Maharashtra State Angling Association.

The MSAA secretary maintains there are only four houseboats, which have been officially converted to observation points to keep a check on poaching
The MSAA secretary maintains there are only four houseboats, which have been officially converted to observation points to keep a check on poaching

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator Avinash Sawant claims to have pursued the issue with the BMC since 2013, but alleges no action has been taken. The topic was first raised at a committee meeting of S ward at Bhandup in 2013.

After various follow ups by Sawant with the Hydraulic Department which looks after the lakes the BMC conducted a survey of the lake in August this year. However, the corporator says no action followed this.

The lake has been given on lease for fishing to the Maharashtra State Angling Association from 1987. The survey showed that the renewal of the lease has been pending since 1991.

Sawant said, “I have been following this issue for a long time and yet there has been no response. The MSAA is using the houseboats, which have more than one structure on a base, which the BMC has said is illegal.

The houseboats also have toilets which release sewage into the lake, dirtying the water. How can the BMC raze the houses of the poor but not stop these irregularities? There are parties taking place there while the lake was leased for fishing.” He said there are more than four houseboats.

BMC speak
S ward officer Prashant Gaikwad said, “I cannot comment on this matter as it is with the hydraulic department.” An official from the hydraulic department said, “A survey was conducted and certain irregularities were pointed out. We will take action soon.”

The other side
MSAA Secretary Ali H Hussaini said, “These houseboats have been there for many years. We have written to BMC after the survey copy about the irregularities was sent to us and have clarified that the four boats were officially converted to observation points to keep check on poaching and for the scientific community to carry out studies.

We have also given an assurance that if the BMC still tells us that the houseboats shouldn’t be there, we will demolish them ourselves.”

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