In a huge setback for the civic body, the Bombay High Court has held that the ongoing work for the cycle and jogging track around the Powai lake is illegal and directed restoration of the reclaimed land.

According to the petitions filed by IITB PhD student Omkar Supekar and NGO Vanashakti the work for the cycle track was violative of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, as the Powai Lake was a wetland.

Another intervention filed by green activist Zoru Bhathena said that 40% of the Powai Lake was surrounded by a road being used by IIT B, therefore there was no need to build another cycle track. The road could be declared a public road and be used by the public.

On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice VG Bisht held the existing work for the cycle track to be illegal and also refused to grant BMC a stay on the judgment.

If the court stays its own order then that shows that the court is not sure of its order. We don’t pass order like that. We are sure it is illegal and so it has been stopped,” the bench observed.

The court said that the BMC should immediately remove the work already carried out.

The BMC was building a cycling track around the Powai lake as part of its plan to have cycling tracks across the city. The project was opposed by environmentalists, saying the cycle track would impact the habitat of the Indian marsh crocodiles.

The BMC was granted permission for the cycling track by the Mumbai Heritage Committee on the condition that the lake bed shouldn’t be reclaimed and there will be a 100 meter buffer zone for construction from the lake.

On November 1, the High Court first stayed work on the cycling track.<…….


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