Conflict between man and animal in a city, which has a national park in its midst, surfaced again on Thursday morning when a crocodile killed a 32-year-old man at Powai lake.
Vijay Rajiv Bhure (right), an operator with a private crane hiring company, was fishing along the eastern bank of the lake when the reptile attacked him. He fell off the inflated rubber ring he was sitting on. “He fell into the lake and the crocodile dragged him inside,” said Senior Police Inspector Ashok Jadhav. “People nearby alerted the fire brigade. His body was brought out 30 minutes later.”
Bhure was taken to Rajawadi Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Environmentalists said the incident was a result of beautification and construction tampering with the lake’s periphery. “Earlier, there were bushes and slopes for crocodiles to bask on. Now, their natural habitat has been replaced with walls and jogging tracks,” said Sunish Subramanian, secretary, Plant and Animals Welfare Society.
Powai resident and activist Pamela Cheema said wildlife was reacting this way because of quarrying around the lake. “The authorities should have considered these problems before the rampant destruction,” she said.
The number of crocodiles in the 6.61-sq-km artificial lake is not known because there has never been a count. “Crocodiles come into Powai lake when water from Vihar lake flows into it. People know this but still go to the lake for fishing,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka.
The Powai police have asked the civic body to cordon the lake.