Maha Govt to protect DPS flamingo lake

GR appointing high-level panel issued

Environmentalists have given a cautious welcome since CIDCO is always out to make money at the cost of the environment.
MUMBAI, July 9 (The CONNECT) - In a major victory for the environmentalists’ campaign to save the 30-acre DPS Flamingo Lake at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government has decided to conserve the waterbody which has witnessed deaths of many pink birds recently.
A Government Resolution (GR) has been issued to this effect by the Revenue and Forest Department announcing the appointment of a high-level committee headed by the Principal Secretary – Forest Department to study the ways and means to conserve the lake as a natural flamingo abode.
Principal secretaries of Environment and Urban Development Departments, CIDCO Managing Director of city planner City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, CEO of Maharashtra Maritime Board, Thane district collector and BNHS chairman Pravin Pardesi are the members of the committee.
The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) is the member secretary.
Welcoming the GR, NatConnect Foundation said this was long overdue as there have been consistent efforts to ‘kill’ the lake. NatConnect, in association with Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society and Save Flamingos & Mangroves forum and Kharghar Hill and wetlands group has also organised a silent human chain to focus attention on the need to save the lake.
With the active monsoon, the lake is full now, but it has been rendered totally dry recently when over 10 flamingos died during April, NatConnect director B N Kumar pointed out.
The CIDCO’s work on the access road to the now defunct Nerul jetty has led to the burial of the major intertidal water inlet to the lake and the other three inlets along the bund on the eastern side were mysteriously choked, Kumar said.
In fact, NatConnect has lodged a strong complaints with the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFFC) and the Chief Minister against CIDCO for “violation” of the environmental clearance conditions for diversion of .46 (point four six) hectares of mangroves for the jetty project.
One of the conditions was that CIDCO would not interfere with the tidal water flow.
The jetty itself for the passenger water transport terminal did not have the state’s environmental clearance, information obtained by NatConnect via the Right to Information (RTI) Act said.
“This is a gross violation,” Kumar said and called for fixing the accountability.
Rekha Sankhala of Save Flamingos & Mangroves forum welcomed the government’s decision and said the people’s involvement in protecting and conserving the lake is very important.
Airoli MLA Ganesh Naik has also supported the environmentalists’ campaign and directed the civic body to clear all choke points and restore the DPS Flamingo Lake.
But CIDCO filed a complaint with the police against NMMC for digging up the choke points without taking the former's permission. Green groups termed this outrageous.