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Mumbai: ‘Eco-friendly’ cycling track threat to Powai lake?

Updated on: 10 August,2021 08:07 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

Locals and activists warn that the construction work would adversely impact its biodiversity; allege trees have also been ‘killed’

Mumbai: ‘Eco-friendly’ cycling track threat to Powai lake?

The debris dumped into Powai lake for construction of the cycling track

Is the cycling and jogging track project posing a threat to Powai lake and its biodiversity? Local residents claim so.

Omkar Mahadeo, a researcher at IIT-Bombay has alleged that the ongoing work has damaged the water body and trees have been killed.  Environment minister Aaditya Thackeray had visited the Powai lake in June to inspect the work of cycling and jogging track, and had said that special care will be taken to maintain the existing flora and fauna there.

However, a local requesting anonymity, alleged that the project is being undertaken along the most important catchment area of the lake. The construction activity will adversely impact the lake’s biodiversity.

The lake has a healthy population of Indian Marsh Crocodiles, and if the work continues, it might disturb reptiles and other aquatic species, and also birds, locals fear.

Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said, “Filling up the banks of a natural lake for building a cycling track is an unheard concept. If a track is needed, they can simply build an elevated track on piers, which will serve the purpose with minimal damage to the lake. Filling up any natural water body is completely unacceptable.”

The track is being built by the BMC and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) jointly.

‘It’s eco-friendly’

P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner (projects), said that the work is being “done after consulting environmental engineers. The BMC gives utmost importance to environmental aspects. We are using gabions that are breathing structures and the continuity of water flow is maintained with an external catchment area. Lots of thought and discussion went into it. It will be an eco-friendly structure, and benefit the public.”

“The eastern suburb needs a community space, which is currently missing. So the BMC is creating an environmentally sensitive community space around the lake. We have also planned a nature interpretation centre on the circuit,” he added. 

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Omkar Mahadeo, researcher at IIT-Bombay: Extensive digging, dumping & levelling of stones by @mybmc inside the water body of IIT Powai Lake for proposed cycle track. Trees have been killed and the biodiversity is in danger

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