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Thane Couples Protest Against Mumbai Civic Body's Cycle Track Project at Wedding

Thane Couples Protest Against BMC’s Cycle Track Around Powai-Vihar Lakes During Wedding. (Credits: Twitter)

Thane Couples Protest Against BMC’s Cycle Track Around Powai-Vihar Lakes During Wedding. (Credits: Twitter)

On November 1, after hearing that the project would violate wetland conservation and management rules and guidelines, the Bombay High Court put a stay on the project.

Dressed in their wedding lehengas and suits, putting on the glow of their special day, young brides and grooms in Thane protested against Mumbai civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) cycle track project around Powai-Vihar lakes in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park Area. On their wedding day, four newlyweds held placards with calls to save Powai-Vihar lakes and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). One of the placards had “Save Vihar Lake” written on it, while another read, “Our future is at stake, please don’t steal our Powai Lake.” One of the grooms held a placard that read in Hindi, “The cycle track is just a pretext, the real purpose is to make the jungle disappear,” NDTV reported.

Here is the protest:

Mumbai civic body’s 10-km cycle track project has faced fierce opposition from citizens and environmentalists. BMC’s proposal to make a cycling track bordering the Powai-Vihar lakes contravenes its own Development Control Regulations, according to environmentalists as they point out that construction is not allowed into the 100m zone of the lake’s periphery.

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On November 1, after hearing that the project would violate wetland conservation and management rules and guidelines, the Bombay High Court put a stay on the project restraining BMC from constructing the cycle track bordering Powai Lake. The HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by two researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B). A Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) has also approached the National Green Tribunal to intervene in the matter.

Defending the project, the state environment minister Aaditya Thackrey claims that the project aims to build a natural, urban open space. According to Thackrey, currently, the lake is “ecologically dead,” full of sewage ingress and surrounded by illegal construction. “The cycle track will be an important intervention. Contrary to what is being alleged, it will protect the lake from encroachments and incentivise proper environmental management,” Thackrey told the Hindustan Times.

However, opposers believe that the lake’s footprints should not be reduced “at any cost,” and the BMC should work on removing the sewage flow. “This lake is a natural habitat for the crocodiles and the cycle track will disturb them,” Manoj Kotak, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Member of Parliament from Mumbai northeast told the Times of India.

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