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Environmental group writes to NGT, demands stay on BMC’s cycle track project over Powai Lake citing damage to ecology

In their email to the NGT, the Sahyadri Rights Forum alleged that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was constructing a cycle track on the Powai Lake with complete disregard for the environment.

An environmental group, Sahyadri Rights Forum, has registered a complaint with the National Green Tribunal over the alleged exploitation of Powai Lake in Mumbai. The forum said that they received a complaint from a student of IIT-Bombay regarding the same following which they acted on the complaint.

In their email to the NGT, the Sahyadri Rights Forum alleged that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was constructing a cycle track on the Powai Lake with complete disregard for the environment. It alleged that the constructions were being carried out in a clandestine manner without due environmental clearances and in violation of judicial orders.

The email said, “The said construction is carried out by reclaiming Powai Lake with mesh wired stones and cutting thousands of trees around it. Such activity would not just engender tree creatures that have habituated there but reclaiming of water in the lake will also engender the marine life and create a total ecological imbalance and amounts to playing with nature.”

The email to NGT

The Sahyadri Rights Forum also demanded that the NGT take immediate cognizance of the matter and put a stay in the project. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has also written to the BMC over the spraying of chemicals due to concerns regarding the ecology. The BMC has been instructed to stop spraying chemicals such as glyphosate. The directive was issued based on a complaint from an environmentalist associated with the Vanashakti NGO.

D Stalin, the complainant, told TOI, “I am pleased that MPCB has taken corrective measures and directed the municipal body to stop spraying chemicals into Powai lake. Several Indian marsh crocodiles, which are protected species that cohabit in the lake, along with fish and other marine creatures can be severely affected by the use of glyphosate to eradicate water hyacinths.”

He added, “We are awaiting the formal response of BMC on the use of chemicals. We are also opposed to the construction of a cycle track around the lake area. Several trees have already been cut for this track project, and crushed stones have been dumped into the water, which is bad for the environment.”

Another environmentalist based in Powai said, “Was any environment impact assessment report finalized before giving the contract to spray chemicals on water hyacinths in the lake? Any random knee-jerk action to clean the water body can prove detrimental to the environment.”

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