Mumbai: Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary to lose several hectares of forestland for water piepes
Environment ministry gives nod to proposal seeking several hectares of forestland in Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary to lay a water pipeline
Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctury in Vasai is set to lose 15 hectares of forestland for laying a pipeline to supply drinking water to the western sub-region of Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The environment ministry has already given its go-ahead to the proposal and directed the MMRDA to carry out plantation to compensate for the loss, provide free water in summer for wild animals' watering holes and construct wildlife crossings near NH-8.
The minutes of 49th meeting (in mid-day's possession) of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife, held on June 13, state some important points. The proposal of the 403 MLD Surya Regional Water Supply Scheme to supply drinking water to western sub-region of MMR and Palghar and Thane districts was discussed in the meeting. The IGF(WL) briefed the Standing Committee on the proposal and stated that it involves diversion of 15.694 ha of forestland.
The minutes state that the State Chief Wildlife Warden has recommended the proposal with certain conditions, including assessment of the impact of the project on the biodiversity along with mitigation measures for wildlife. "The possible impact of underground tunneling for such a massive pipeline must first be assessed and evaluated by a reputed institution by using scientific knowledge and available technical data," stated the point.
MMRDA has been asked to manage and maintain the 8-metre-wide pipeline path. "At any time, not more than five people will be working at the Chene Master Balancing Reservoir, and unauthorised people will not go to the area without permission of National Park authorities. The staff working at the reservoir area will inform the PA manager regarding poaching, fire and other incidents," stated another point from the minutes.
MMRDA has also been asked to make sure that no muck is left in the sanctuary after digging the tunnel, and also told to fill the quarries of Sanjay Gandhi National Park Division to prevent wildlife Another point stated: "It is suggested that 17 water-harvesting structures be constructed in the sanctuary to retain water till May-end for wildlife, particularly on the eastern side."
MMRDA has also been told to construct a wall along the NH-8 in the sanctuary on both sides of the road to prevent accidents of wildlife, and also direct wildlife to use the underpasses (by cleaning the bridges), and building an overpass.
Hectares of land the sanctuary will lose
MLD of water the pipeline will supply
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