Environmentalists have blamed the Rs 40-crore shore beautification project for Thursday’s fatal crocodile attack on Vijay Bhure (32) at Powai lake. The civic project has been on since 2007 and there have been five attacks since then.
Environmentalists said the lake’s sloping shores were where the reptiles basked and bred, but the slopes were destroyed for the project. “There was a spot near Powai police station where crocodiles laid their eggs, but that site was destroyed too due to the dumping of debris,” said Sunish Subramanian, founder, Plant and Animal Welfare Society, Mumbai.
“The lake has also shrunk over the years, so it’s natural that the crocodiles venture out of their territory. The water is contaminated, which means there are few fish left for the crocodiles. This forces them to prey on humans and livestock,” said Krishna Tiwari, head, City Forest Project, Bombay Natural History Society.
In 1980, the Forest Department counted 18 crocodiles in the area, but locals felt the number would have risen significantly since then.
Environmentalists have now launched the ‘Mission Save Powai Lake’ campaign on Facebook and Orkut against some parts of the beautification plan.