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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Mumbai floods: Sanjay Gandhi National Park to stay shut this week

Forest officials said while no animals were affected, more than 60 trees collapsed

mumbai Updated: Aug 31, 2017 01:33 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Documents in SGNP’s forest divisional office destroyed.
Documents in SGNP’s forest divisional office destroyed.(HT)

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivli will be shut till the end of this week. Heavy rainfall in Mumbai on Tuesday destroyed the entire forest divisional office premises at the park, which had five-foot deep water, said SGNP officials.

Forest officials said while no animals were affected even as more than 60 trees collapsed. The bridge at the entry of the park sustained damages at its base and at the edges, several internal roads were damaged and a few hutments of the tribal population living close to the Kanheri caves were swept away.

In close proximity to the office, 30 of 45 staff quarters were inundated and homes of forest guards wrecked. A retaining wall at the tourist zone of the park also collapsed on Tuesday.

SGNP officers said the impact of Tuesday’s rainfall was much more than what the park witnessed during the July 26, 2005 floods. “There was over five-foot water inside the main office area on Tuesday afternoon. All our furniture was completely damaged. All our documents have been destroyed because of the water. Keeping all these issues in mind, we decided to close the park until the situation becomes better,” said Kishore Thakre, acting chief conservator of forest, SGNP. “Only half of this much damage was witnessed during the 2005 deluge. If the rains would have continued through the night, captive animals would be seriously affected.”

He added that another source for the flooding was the overflowing Tulsi and Vihar lakes located within the park’s premises. “There was reverse overflow of the Tulsi lake due to Tuesday’s torrential rains, which has not been witnessed in the past. It is common that during heavy rains that Vihar lake overflows. Due to the heavy flow of water from these lakes and constant downpour a retaining wall, walking paths and close to five culverts were damaged at SGNP,” he said.

The suburban deputy collector and the revenue officer from Andheri visited SGNP on Wednesday to take stock of the damage. “It is unfortunate that the city’s only national park had to bear the brunt of heavy rainfall. We have told the forest department to recover the forest records and important documents first and begin restoration work. We hope the park will be functional by next week,” said Satyanaryan Bajaj, Mumbai suburban deputy collector.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 01:33 IST

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