The long-pending project saw the light of day after Japanese company JICA said it would fund it.
Mumbai: Seeking to protect flamingos while also ensuring that its ambitious Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) becomes a reality, the state government has proposed that the project’s construction work be halted when the birds arrive in the city.
In an affidavit to the green tribunal, the government has said that it would halt construction activities for two to three months every October, after the birds arrive at the Sewri mudflats near the MTHL, and work on the disputed patch would resume when they leave. This, according to the government, would allow the flamingos to thrive
The long-pending MTHL project saw the light of day after Japanese company JICA said it would fund it. The government also expedited the process of getting environment permissions from the Centre. The only hitch, however, was protecting flamingos.
“The government has said in the affidavit that it will not do any construction when the flamingos visit Sewri. It’s a small patch and the government can halt the construction for two to three months. Construction will resume once they go back. The measure will not disturb the flamingos. Construction will be completed before they come back next year,” a senior official from the government’s war room said on the condition of
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) officials said that the government’s solution might prove helpful. “It can help to a certain extent. But flamingos stay here for around eight months. It was also one of our recommendations to the government to avoid construction of the bridge when the flamingos arrive. Damage will be done during construction. However, it is premature to say that the flamingos will not come back after the construction of the MTHL bridge. It all depends on restoration of the habitat and availability of food for them. In some of the Navi Mumbai bridges, flamingos have been seen coming back,” said Dr Deepak Apte, director of BNHS. The organisation will monitor the construction of the MTHL from the environment point of view.
Environmentalists had opposed the project, which, according to them, would damage mangroves, flamingo habitat and marine life. The bridge was stalled for long time due to the environmental hurdle.