Record flamingo numbers may clip wings of golf course project in Navi Mumbai
Close to a record 9,000 flamingos congregating across the Talawe wetlands in Navi Mumbai during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown has put the (golf) ball in the Maharashtra’s government’s court. The choice is between marking the area a conservation reserve or to go ahead with the plan of developing a golf course.
The area is government land and its possession is with the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), which plans to develop a golf course at the site. After the past month — in which the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has estimated that flamingo numbers are 25% more than last year’s owing to lower human activity — the state mangrove cell intends on protecting the Talawe wetlands as a buffer to the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (mangrove cell).
“This area is currently government land, but possession is with Cidco. The mangrove cell has asked for a no-objection certificate and sought comments from the planning authority and the district collector on declaring the zone a conservation reserve. Once we get a response, we will finalise the plan. We are also checking whether any peripheral areas were handed over to developers so far,” said Tiwari.
According to the Union environment ministry, conservation reserves are protected areas that act as buffer zones or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries or reserved and protected forests of India.
There are 88 conservation reserves in India across 12 states.
The Talawe wetlands are located near the Seawoods NRI housing complex and Training Ship Chanakya (TSC). The area has large stretches of abandoned paddy fields and scrub (200m wide 1.5 km long), which is separated from the seashore by a strip of mangroves (100-200m wide and 1.5km long). The east side is a residential area, while mangroves border the north and south.
The overall area suggested for protection by BNHS includes: a 783-hectare foraging area and a 46-hectare core area, which includes the 14-hectare TSC and 21.9-hectare NRI complex. The area has 58 bird species, 33 migratory species, eight near-threatened, two vulnerable, two species protected under schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and four under schedule IV, according to BNHS.
Cidco’s plans to develop a golf course have been opposed by environmentalists and residents. “Construction work for 17 buildings with 1,564 flats and 20 offices has already begun towards the landward side as we received a commencement certificate from the state. However, there is no clarity on the fate of the 18-hole golf course construction towards Seawoods, and we are not sure whether it is feasible,” said Pramod Patil, nodal officer (environment), Cidco. “It is our commitment to protect mangroves and wildlife, and we will assist the forest department in their requirements.”
Flamingo numbers in the area this year have been much more than of previous years, crossing the 8,500 mark in April 2020, said BNHS. “This is excellent news and should be pursued at the highest level. We congratulate the mangrove cell for taking this proposal forward,” said Deepak Apte, director, BNHS.
“There was already a concurrence from the state wildlife board in 2015 to declare the site as a part of the sanctuary, and the current flock of flamingos is testimony to the need to conserve this zone. More so, this will avoid large congregations near the runway of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport,” he added.
Delhi will host its first ever government-backed shopping festival from January 28 to February 26 next year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Wednesday. The festival will have 200 concerts for entertainment, food walks and will also offer huge discounts on products. Kejriwal said the festival will boost employment and the city's economy. The chief minister said people will also get a glimpse of Delhi's art and culture in the shopping festival.
This time, an Andhra Pradesh legislator sat beside an overflowing drain in Nellore with YSR Congress MLA from Nellore Rural constituency, Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy's legged dipped in it as a mark of protest against the authorities alleging they ignored the repeated request to clean the drain. The legislator also warned that he will come again and sit in the drain in the Umma Reddy Gunta area if the authorities fail to clean it.
A video of his wife, Lata Shinde, who welcomed back by playing drums playing the drums is going viral on social media. Read Didn't betray, revolted against injustice, Shinde andBJP's Devendra Fadnavis in Maha Assembly On June 30, saysMaharashtra chief minister Eknath Shindee, who was made the deputy CM in the new governmentr – were sworn in. The 'dissident' Shiv Sena faction has as many as 40 MLAs, which means that it can claim to be the 'real' Shiv Sena.
On Monday, the Central Consumer Protection Authority prohibited eateries from automatically or by default levying service charges on food bills. This decision has left restaurateurs feeling anxious as they think this isn't in the welfare of their staff. Prabhat Verma, who runs a food group, DRAG, says he's happy and excited with this change. Another foodie, Priyanka Talreja, says as a customer and frequent visitor to restaurants, it was a much-needed move.
A day after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in an audit report that Delhi has been recording a revenue surplus since 2015, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the numbers are the “biggest proof” of the Aam Aadmi Party's “honesty”. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia presented the 2021 CAG report on state finances, for the financial year ending March 2020, in the Delhi assembly on Tuesday.