Mumbai: Now, BJP opposes Powai lake cycle track over crocodile habitat

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Mumbai: Now, BJP opposes Powai lake cycle track over crocodile habitat

MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday opposed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) plan to construct a cycle track around Powai lake. BJP MP from Mumbai northeast Manoj Kotak met BMC chief Iqbal Chahal and other senior civic officials to demand the scrapping of the project. Kotak said that the BMC must first stop the entry of sewage lines into the lake and clear the lake of the water hyacinth. He added that the cycle track would disturb the habitat of crocodiles that call Powai lake their home. “We have demanded that the cycle track should not reduce the footprint of the lake at any cost. We have asked the BMC to first remove the hyacinth and stop the flow of sewage into the lake from the various residential and commercial premises nearby. This lake is a natural habitat for the crocodiles and the cycle track will disturb them,” Kotak said. Kotak also asked the BMC to conduct a site visit at the lake

and hear out the views of green activists who have been opposing the project. Nature lovers and environmentalists held a protest near Powai lake demanding that the cycle track construction around the lake be scrapped, since it is ruining the lake's biodiversity, and also encroaching into the basking area of crocodiles. Green activists said that as many as 162 trees are slated to be fully hacked for the ongoing cycle track project. Earlier in June, state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray had personally visited Powai lake along with civic officials in order to chalk out details of the cycling and jogging track. Thackeray had also tweeted about his intention to build the track around the lake. “We were told by BMC officials that the cycle track would be outside the high tide line. But we have categorically told them that we will now allow any construction that will reduce the footprint of the lake. Cycle tracks can be constructed at some other location,” Kotak said.