Mumbai lake shrinks further: HC committee to tally area with national wetland atlas

HT had first reported about the alleged destruction of the lake on September 10, 2016

mumbai Updated: Jan 30, 2018 22:59 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Aarey Milk Colony,lake
The complainants alleged that the water body, is an important source of drinking water for the wildlife, has shrunk by 60% in the past few months. (HT Photo )

A lake on the Royal Palms property at Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon, continues to be filled with debris even after a complaint was filed four months ago, said environmentalists.

The wetland grievance redressal committee (constituted by the Bombay high court in August 2016 for protecting wetlands) heard the matter on Tuesday after another complaint was filed by NGO Vanashakti.

HT had first reported about the alleged destruction of the lake on September 10, 2016. The report highlighted how an half-an-acre lake, close to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), had shrunk by 40% owing to debris dumping and slow draining of the water.

Read: Satellite images show how illegal reclamation shrunk Mumbai’s Aarey lake by 40% in 7 years

“We have taken cognisance of the complaints. Orders have been issued to the state forest department to pinpoint coordinates for the lake and tally it with the National Wetland Atlas [for Maharashtra],” said Konkan commissioner Jagdish Patil, who heads the committee. “If the lake is found in the Atlas, we will protect it. If it is not, work will continue as the competent authority has already issued permissions for filling.”

The complainants alleged that the water body, is an important source of drinking water for the wildlife, has shrunk by 60% in the past few months. “This area is part of the eco-sensitive zone of SGNP and will disappear in months. There are several water bodies in the city and state that are not visible on the Atlas, but are declared as wetlands. If we observe satellite images from early 1990, the lake is visible,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti and member of the HC committee.

Read: BJP-Sena-NCP drama, shrinking lakes, MU mess

He said his first complaint was refuted by the revenue department stating there were no mangroves in the area. “The report is a cover up job to help reclaim the lake for real estate development,” Stalin said.

Soil dumped in Mithi

Large quantity of mud is being dumped in Mithi River near Filter Pada in Aarey Colony, claimed Vanashakti in a recent complaint it filed with the state. The catchment area of the river is being alleged encroached, which is disturbing the natural flow and landscape of the area, the NGO alleged.Officials from the district collector’s office said a circle officer will be sent to inspect the area.

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 22:59 IST