Navi Mumbai: Kharghar pond is the newest dumping ground

The debris is slowly filling the pond, which is where several bird and butterfly species flock

While the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) recently introduced a toll-free number for residents for protecting the green cover of Navi Mumbai, a stretch of wetland near the Kharghar golf course in Sector-22 is under threat from debris dumping.

When mid-day visited the spot, we found this bulldozer at work near the pond
When mid-day visited the spot, we found this bulldozer at work near the pond

For past several months truck loads of construction debris is being dumped there, to fill a water body next to a gurudwara besides the golf course. Most of these activities take place during the night and early morning when there is no human intervention. A local environmentalist revealed that the water body is home to several bird and butterfly species.

A footpath near the pond was also levelled off
A footpath near the pond was also levelled off

V Shubhalaxmi, founder and CEO of Ladybird Environmental consulting, said, “The wetland near the golf course is home to 36 bird species and 13 butterfly species. Since, it is a naturally formed water body, these species have made it their home. This is also the only naturally formed water body left in that region and hence many birds and butterfly species flock to the spot.”

The pond is next to the gurudwara near the golf course
The pond is next to the gurudwara near the golf course

She further added that birds such as black crowned night heron, dusky crag martin, wire tailed swallow, green bee eater, common iora, red vented bulbul, red wattled lapwing, Malabar crested lark, Indian robin, green sandpiper, white-throated kingfisher, several varieties of egret, prinia and storks are found at the wetland.

This picture taken in June shows the construction debris in and next to the pond
This picture taken in June shows the construction debris in and next to the pond

Besides this, several butterflies including plain tiger, stripped tiger, tawny coaster, red pierrot, common emigrant, painted lady, common baron are also found at the spot, she added.

When contacted, CIDCO’s senior engineer for Kharghar region, Ramesh Dayatkar claimed he was busy and could not comment at the moment. Despite repeated calls and text messages, executive engineer for the same region, VT Ravi did not comment.

Toll free number
Earlier in October CIDCO launched a toll-free number to protect the green cover of the city. The number: 1800-26-70-207 was launched with the e-mail ID mangrovecomplaints@cidco.maharashtra.gov.in. for residents to complaint about mangrove destruction.

New bird sanctuaries
Meanwhile, last week the state wildlife board announced three bird sanctuaries at Mahul-Sewri, wetlands near NRI complex in Nerul and Panje-Funde near Uran in Navi Mumbai.

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