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‘Cycling track around Powai Lake illegal’: Bombay HC asks BMC to remove all constructions and restore site

In a setback to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Bombay High Court allowed PILs difficult the development of a biking and jogging monitor round Powai Lake because it was allegedly in-built violation of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules and mentioned the cycle monitor is prohibited.

“In view of law as it stands, the work of cycling track is illegal and respondent BMC is restrained from carrying out any reclamation or construction work,” the High Court held.

The courtroom additionally requested the BMC to right away take away all constructions carried out and restore the reclaimed website to its authentic place and rejected BMC’s request to remain the operation of its judgment. It additionally mentioned that the civic physique can method the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice V G Bisht on April 25 had concluded the listening to within the pleas filed by Omkar Supekar and Abhishek Tripathi, two PhD researchers from IIT-Bombay who had been represented by advocate Rajmani Varma, together with a plea by NGO Vanashakti.

The High Court had first stayed the development of the venture on November 1, final 12 months, and the keep continued on occasion. The courtroom, on April 25, prolonged the keep until the pronouncement of the decision within the two PILs.

Supekar sought to revive the location to its authentic type with fast impact, until the data on the cycle monitor venture is made accessible within the public area in its entirety, adopted by an all-inclusive public listening to.

Supekar argued that the Powai Lake has a water unfold space of 210 hectare and a catchment space of 6.61 sq. kilometre as per Central Institute of Fisheries Education. He added that in 2011, the National Wetlands Atlas was ready by the Space Applications Center of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which was funded by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry and Powai Lake was notified as a wetland within the map.

He additionally mentioned that the civic and state authorities have failed to reply to his RTI queries pertaining to the mentioned venture, prompting him to method the High Court. Supekar mentioned that there can’t be reclamation or injury to the heritage lake when the DCR clearly acknowledged that there can’t be any building inside 100 metre of the water physique.

“Construction activities carried out in the ecologically fragile wetland of Powai Lake are a serious threat to the protected and multiple endangered species of flora and fauna and there is no public information available on the ongoing construction activities at all, hence the application,” the petitioners mentioned.

Senior advocate Gayatri Singh representing the NGO and its founder Dayanand Stalin argued that there’s a crocodile park within the space and due to this fact permission from the National Wildlife Board (NWB) can be required. It added that the heritage clearance to the venture had clearly acknowledged that no reclamation or building work of any sort must be allowed.

The BMC, which has undertaken the venture, had refuted claims made within the PIL and acknowledged that it’s a man-made reservoir and therefore, didn’t flout wetland norms. It had mentioned that the venture was in public curiosity and there was no breach of guidelines.

The civic physique, by means of senior advocate Aspi Chinoy and advocate Joel Carlos, claimed that it was utilizing the newest “gabion technology” to make the cycle monitor with none reclamation or building work and the mentioned know-how consists of merely putting PVC coated galvanised iron wire mesh baskets containing stones of varied sizes, with none joinery, fixing or cement mortar. The know-how makes use of “porous” materials and “does not prevent flow of water” throughout monsoons, the BMC mentioned and denied contentions that the know-how was harmful to people and the ecosystem.

The BMC had proposed developing a biking monitor across the Powai Lake as part of its plan to have biking tracks throughout the town. The venture has come below opposition from residents and environmentalists, who’ve opposed the development saying it can affect the habitat of the Indian marsh crocodiles.

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