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Flamingos, Humans Can Co-exist, Says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Mumbai Trans Harbour Link

Uddhav Thackeray indicated that the project, which connects Mumbai to adjoining Raigad district, won't be detrimental to the migratory birds flying to Mumbai's balmy shores in search of warmer climes.

PTI

Updated:January 15, 2020, 5:48 PM IST
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Flamingos, Humans Can Co-exist, Says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Mumbai Trans Harbour Link
File photo of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday sought to assuage green activists' concerns over the environmental impact of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) on migratory flamingos, saying humans and the birds have found a way to co-exist.

Speaking after launching the first of the over 10,000 girder segments of the MTHL here, Thackeray indicated that the project, which connects Mumbai to adjoining Raigad district, won't be detrimental to the migratory birds flying to Mumbai's balmy shores in search of warmer climes.

"I had come to see the project because of the concerns. Now you can see there are flamingos on either side of the construction and also along the construction. I think both us and the birds have found a way to co-exist," Thackeray told reporters here.

He also exuded confidence that the project will be completed ahead of its September 2022 deadline. Thackeray also pointing out that the migratory Greater Flamingos are present along the project's construction site.

Many activists have voiced their concerns about the over Rs 17,000 crore project, which will be the longest bridge in India when completed, because of flamingo roosting that happens at the site every winter months, when the birds come to tropical climes to escape the Siberian cold.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority's (MMRDA) additional commissioner Sanjay Khandare said sufficient care was being taken through interventions like sound barriers, mufflers and ecologically sensitive lighting.

Construction of the 22-km bridge, of which 16.5 km would be over water, has been awarded to two consortia, including Larsen and Toubro and Tata Projects.

The project, being constructed with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency,was first envisaged nearly four decades ago.

The MMRDA has said 19 per cent of the project's total financial cost has been invested till date.

The project aims to connect Sewri on mainland Mumbai with Chirle in neighbouring Raigad district.

MMRDA official say flamingos have been flocking to the Sewri mudflats despite MTHL construction. Environmentalists though are still wary about the long-term impact. Every year, thousands of flamingos are spotted near the Sewri Jetty in south Mumbai. Once a hotspot for migratory birds, activists say fewer numbers have been spotted since the construction of the MTHL bridge.

The project will be useful to connect the island city with the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport, goods movement into Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the country's largest container port located across the harbour, and also passenger movement towards Pune and Goa.

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