Mumbai: BMC forms expert environmental panel to oversee Powai lake cycle track work | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Facing flak over its plans to construct a cycle track around Powai lake, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday said that it has formed a committee of state environmental experts to discuss the lake’s development and carry out any mitigation measures to ensure that no damage is done to the ecology.
The BJP on Thursday had opposed the BMC’s plan to construct a cycle track around Powai lake. BJP MP from Mumbai northeast Manoj Kotak met BMC chief Iqbal Chahal and other senior civic officials to demand scrapping of the project.

The BMC said that the committee of experts is working on a detailed project analysis to handhold the BMC for sustainable construction during and after the project. Dr Rakesh Kumar, environmental scientist, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Dr Deepak Apte, environment specialist and marine biologist from the BNHS, Dr Pramod Salaskar, environment specialist on Powai lake, Dr Kedar Bhide, herpetologist, and IIT Bombay’s professor DN Singh are on the committee.
“In its meetings, the committee has deliberated in detail the environmental issues of Powai Lake, assessed various technologies and upon weighing their respective pros and cons, considers the gabion wall technology as the most adaptable method of construction, one which will be least intrusive to the natural environment of the lake. The committee is also monitoring the water quality throughout the project and will make key recommendations on the current and future sustainability of biodiversity and natural habitats of the lake environment,” the BMC said in a statement.

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In Pics: ‘Save Powai Lake’ – nature lovers protest against construction of cycle track

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Several nature lovers on Sunday gathered near the Powai lake against the proposed cycle track in the area as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has restarted the dumping of stones and mud into the water body to make the cycle track — Vijay Singh (TOI)

The BMC pointed out that environmentally sensitive zones are amenable to buildable development wherein boardwalks, trekking facilities, public sanitary conveniences for visitors and sewage pumping stations are permissible. “Gabion wall technology, an eco-friendly and worldwide accepted methodology in natural environments, is a simple method of placing stone baskets without any permanent construction or joinery or fixing or cement mortar,” the BMC explained.
The BMC also pointed out that the project does not qualify for an Environmental Clearance by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

“The proposals for creating a community space including cycle track/ walkway along the periphery of Powai lake do not entail any building construction. It is a landscape and site development project on the banks of Powai lake and adjacent BMC gardens. Powai lake is not included in the notified list of wetlands, and hence, any rules applicable to wetlands or issues of violation of the Ramsar Convention on wetlands are not applicable to site development of Powai lake periphery,” the BMC pointed out.
BMC officials said that the committee will provide guidance and oversight regarding environmental aspects of rejuvenation and reinvigoration of the natural and physical environment of the Powai lake edge project. “The committee will also suggest measures for enhancing the environmental standards of the proposed project to achieve minimal impact on the ecology of the Powai Lake and its edge. It will suggest measures to increase the biodiversity of the lake areas as the project is a public project and will provide access to all. The panel will suggest measures to reduce and mitigate impact induced by the project,” the BMC said.

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