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Maharashtra government acts to save Navi Mumbai’s Flamingo lake

Updated on: 10 July,2024 06:55 AM IST  |  Mumbai
A Correspondent |

High-level body to develop conservation plan for lake

Maharashtra government acts to save Navi Mumbai’s Flamingo lake

Flamingos at the DPS Lake in Nerul. File Pic/NatConnect

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Maharashtra government acts to save Navi Mumbai’s Flamingo lake

In a major victory for the environmentalists’ campaign to save the 30-acre DPS Flamingo Lake, the Maharashtra Government has decided to conserve the waterbody at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, which has recently witnessed the deaths of many pink birds. A Government Resolution (GR) has been issued to this effect by the Revenue and Forest Department.

The government has appointed a high-level committee headed by the principal secretary of the Forest Department to study the way it means to conserve the lake as a natural flamingo abode. Principal secretaries of Environment and Urban Development departments, CIDCO managing director, Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner, CEO of Maharashtra Maritime Board, Thane district collector, and Bombay Natural History Society Chairman Pravin Pardesi are 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, Save Flamingos & Mangroves Forum and Kharghar Hill Wetlands Group have also organised a silent human chain to focus attention on the need to save the lake.”

“With the active monsoon, the lake is now full, but it had been rendered totally dry recently, when over 10 flamingos died in April this year,” NatConnect Director B N Kumar said. “CIDCO’s work on the access road to the now defunct Nerul jetty has led to the burial of the major intertidal water inlets to the lake. The other three inlets along the bund on the eastern side were mysteriously choked,” Kumar said.

NatConnect had filed a string of 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. 

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