The Union Environment Ministry has sought a response from the state environment department over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s proposal to landfill parts of Powai lake to create a cycle track. Environmentalists had earlier raised concerns over the project.
Parts of Powai lake were reclaimed earlier for widening the Jogeshwari Vikhroli link road. The BMC has now proposed a cycling track around the lake as part of its plan to have cycling tracks around the city.
On August 19, environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti wrote a letter to the Union environment department raising concerns about the project.
“The lake is home to the Indian Marsh Crocodile, a Schedule I protected species under the Indian Wild Life Protection Act 1972… The National Board of Wildlife and Forest Departments have not given any clearance nor can they give any arbitrary permissions for this activity,” the letter said.
He further said that the lake has been neglected and water hyacinth has taken over almost 30% of it.
“Instead of removing the weeds and keeping the boundaries of the lake inviolate, we are shocked to see that the effect of neglecting the lake is being capitalized by utilizing the area for construction. This is illegal too,” the letter said.
Stalin asked the Centre to immediately stop work on the project and restore the damaged areas.