To stop crocodiles from moving out of Powai lake, the civic body dug a trench on Thursday blocking a makeshift road where crocodiles were reported to be making their way out.
The move comes two days after HT reported that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) clean-up work at Powai Lake was destroying crocodile habitats.
On Monday, a six-foot female crocodile was spotted near the entry gate of Panchkutir Chota Ganpati Visarjan Ghat at the lake, close to the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B).
Civic body officials said the two trenches were dug up near the IIT-B campus and the other, 500m from it.
“These are the only two sites where the crocodiles can come out from. To protect visitors coming to the lake, we dug the trenches a day after we were alerted about the issue,” said a senior engineer from the hydraulics department. “Fences will be constructed at both the places within a week and a security guard will be stationed at the site.”
NGOs from the area welcomed the move but said the crocodile habitats still needed to be restored.
“The fence and security will increase vigilance but the civic body needs to keep some of the water hyacinth after clean-up and build a patch within the lake where these reptiles can rest,” said Gordon Rodricks, vice-president, Maharashtra State Angling Association (MSAA).
The number of crocodiles in the 6.61-sq-km artificial lake is not known because there has never been an official census. However, according to the MSAA, there are 40 crocodiles in the lake.
“We spotted two baby crocodiles at the Powai Lake on Wednesday. While building a fence might stop larger crocodiles from coming out, smaller ones might escape from other ends of the lake,” said Sunish Subramanian Kunju of NGO Plant & Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), adding that small islands could be built within the lake to reinstate their habitat.
On April 3 this year, a fisherman from Tirandaz village near IIT-Bombay suffered severe injuries after he was attacked by a crocodile while fishing in Powai Lake. Babu Bhure, 50, was admitted to Rajawadi municipal hospital, Ghatkopar, where doctors operated on his bruised legs.