MTDC plans crocodile safari in Powai lake, seeks Mumbai civic body nod
As part of its initiative to boost tourism in the city, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has sought a nod by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to start crocodile safari boating in Powai lake. The tentative deadline to start these boating services is June-end.
According to MTDC officials, they have sought permission from the BMC to start the safari, for which, the boats will be operated by the MTDC. The tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray has held two review meetings in the last two weeks.
The plan is to have barges that will allow citizens to sail around Powai lake that is home to several crocodiles. The boats will be purchased and operated by the MTDC, said the officials.
Powai lake is maintained by the BMC to supply non-potable water to industries since the water in it is not potable.
Ashutosh Salil, managing director of the MTDC said, “Discussion for starting such services has been initiated with the BMC. We have already sought their permission. The plan is to start boating to conduct a crocodile safari by June end. We are yet to work on the fare structure and other minute details. But the boats will be like a barge considering the safety of visitors.”
The BMC also has plans to beautify the area around Powai lake that includes the walking pathway, garden area etc.
The civic body said it is working on several plans to restore the lake from pollutants and preserve it, as the lake has rich marine biodiversity and rare species of crocodiles. It had in the past also received money from the Centre under the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-Systems to preserve the lake, but its initiatives have been put on hold owing to the construction of the Metro-6 corridor which passes from near the lake.
The MTDC on similar lines in the coming months is also planning to make BMC owned guest houses near Tansa, Modak Sagar and Vihar lakes available for the general public. This is a bid to boost tourism and the local economy. The guest houses at these dams that supply drinking water to Mumbai are until now only used by state officials or guests of the government.
Officials of the BMC did not want to speak on the issue at this juncture.
Meanwhile, back in July 2019, the BMC had shot down a proposal by local Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator to introduce water sports such as scuba diving, water aerobics, water polo and boat racing at Powai lake. The proposal was rejected citing the presence of crocodiles in the lake.