For the past couple of weeks, citizens in Mumbai have been protesting against the construction of a cycling track inside the Powai lake. The ‘Save Powai Lake’ campaign highlights how the cycling track project is environmentally destructive for the lake.
According to TOI, nature lovers, environmentalists, and activists have been holding protests demanding for the construction to be scrapped. Many have also written to the Maharashtra government for the same.
Environmentalists have pointed out that the cycle track project is a massive threat to the lake’s biodiversity and also encroaches on the basking area of crocodiles. A few protestors also alleged that as many as 162 are slated to be cut down for the project.
“We have also written to the CM that the three lakes Tulsi, Vihar and Powai are a part of an ecosystem, with each lake overflowing into the other. In fact, Powai lake overflows into the Mithi river; so further reducing the lake size for the cycle track will lead to flooding in the city,” said Powai resident Pamela Cheema.
“I have personally seen crocodile eggs laid in the muddy soil on the edge of the lake, where now hectic construction activity is happening. There is also no EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) report shown to the public; so why make this cycle track that the people do not want?” said another protestor.
Visuals of the protest spanning over the past couple of weeks have been circulating on social media. People are seen holding placards that read ‘Stop Destroying Powai Lake’, ‘Save Powai Lake’, etc.
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Save Powai Lake demonstration against the cycle track project took place today pic.twitter.com/M5IlTLamO7
— Vijay Singh (@vijaysinghTOI) October 17, 2021
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#AccheNationals from Mumbai protesting to save Powai Lake.
A cycle track is being made across Mumbai, it has displaced people in the past and now threatens an important wildlife habitat.
More power to the people. 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💚💚💚
— Acche Nationals (@AccheNationals) September 26, 2021
— geeta seshu (@geetaseshu) October 24, 2021
Environmentalist D Stalin told TOI, “I have also made several visits to Powai lake to see this cycle track work. It is just not a good idea to have it around a water body that hosts many Indian marsh crocodiles, fishes, and over 200 dependent bird species. Nishant Bangera of Muse Foundation and other protesters are trying to give out a strong message to the state government, to leave Powai lake’s biodiversity alone.”
The BMC, on the other hand, has said that Powai Lake is man-made and is not a natural wetland. Hence, environmental clearance is not required. The Mid-Day further reported that trees along the alignment of the proposed cycle track won’t be cut.
What are your views on the cycling track project? Tell us.