Crocodiles in Powai Lake

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Powai Lake is a small lake in the North of Mumbai. Around it a set of posh buildings have emerged as the Lake was thought to add to the beauty of the buildings coming up and good for prospective buyers.With the coming up of the colonies the lake area has shrunk by 30%. Lately the authorities have awoken to this fact  and have started getting the lake cleaned and spruced. This by itself is a good thing. But people who matter have not thought of the crocodiles that inhabit this lake.

The beautification of the lake and its surroundings must take into account the welfare of the original inhabitants of this lake, the crocodiles. These number about 70 in all and have made this lake their home for centuries. There is no doubt that the crocodile’s life style has been affected adversely with the construction and beautification plan.

Firstly the crocodile’s access to the shores of the lake has been severely curtailed. The crocodiles use these shores every day to bask in the sun. The culprit is the constructed parapet walls which are too steep for the crocodiles to climb and come onto the land. It is matter of regret that nobody thought of the crocs in the lake, so intent they were in trying to beautify the lake for man.

It must be noted that the crocs come daily on land and lay eggs. This will become difficult for them and a man animal conflict could be in the offing. Again the beautification plans includes setting up some fountains in the lake. These look nice to the naked human eye, but would disturb the crocodiles that have lived in these serene waters for centuries. I wonder if these fountains can be stopped all together.

The crocodiles are a precious commodity and in the present environment, where wild life is at a premium, their survival is in the interest of everybody. The lake itself needs to be cleaned and is still dirty with sea weeds and garbage floating around. In fact during the immersion festivals during Ganpathy when idols of the God Ganesh are immersed in the lake in thousands is the worst time, as this ceremony ends in polluting the lake to no end. This also needs to stop. Surely no God will  approve destruction of any natural habitat.

It should not be forgotten that along with the crocs, the lake is a habitat for several bird species, who will also be disturbed with the water fountains in the lake at a number of places. It is a matter of regret that no wild life expert was consulted for this beautification drive. It is still not late and it is hoped that the natural habitat of the crocs in Powai Lake will not be destroyed


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