The city’s historic Powai lake has been stinking because of the garbage and accumulation of hyacinth over time, but the state of the lake is not likely to change even this monsoon.
Despite several complaints by residents regarding the stench, the constant seeping of sewage, alarming rate of growth of hyacinth, and the increasing amount of garbage being dumped in Powai lake, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) most likely won’t desilt the lake this year.
RB Bambale, hydraulic engineer, BMC said, “There is no need to desilt the lake before the monsoon this year. Instead, the local ward office will remove garbage and carry out regular cleaning work.”
The last contract for desilting Powai lake was given by the BMC in October 2007. Under the contract, 5,80,000 cubic metres of silt was to be removed. The contract ended in June 2012. In its budget, the civic body has allocated Rs1 crore for cleaning of the lake.
Meanwhile, the municipal corporation has decided to form a 15-member team to figure out a long-term solution to maintaining the water body. Representatives from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), MMRDA, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, town planning department, and local activists and environmentalists will be a part of the team that will formulate a long-term plan to preserve the lake, desilt it and check the drainage system.
Local activists and residents have been complaining that 17 floodgates are opened frequently to allow sewerage water, thereby polluting the lake. Ideally, the floodgates are only supposed to be opened only during severe water logging in adjacent areas.
“We have been pursuing the BMC regarding this issue. So far, the BMC has been saying that higher authorities will take care of the issue. The lake is going to shrink if they continue to ignore the problem,” said Pamela Cheema, a local activist. “It is shocking that desilting work will not be carried out this year.”