To prevent any unpleasant incident that may spoil the forthcoming Ganeshotsav festivities, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to place two 70×30 metre nylon safety nets at both ends of the Powai Lake to protect devotees from crocodile attacks.

Close to 500 Ganesh mandals use the lake to immerse idols. The decision acquires significance as it comes less than two weeks after a man was killed by a crocodile on the shore of Powai Lake. Another Powai resident had narrowly escaped death when he was attacked by a reptile in June.

Vinay Deshpande, BMC’s hydraulic department chief, said as a precautionary measure, they have decided to place two thick nylon nets – one at Pawar Nagar near IIT campus and the other at Ganesh Ghat near Hiranandani Garden.

The nets will be put 25 feet deep into the lake and will be held in place by iron pipes on all sides of the lake.

“The nets will be placed after identifying sections of the lake where crocodiles are seen most. The net and pipes will be visible from the outside as well. That way, devotees can gauge the distance and avoid crossing the boundary. The nets will restrict the movement of crocodiles and avoid incidents of attacks. We also plan to install floodlights for late-night Ganesh immersions,” Deshpande said.

“We don’t want to take any risk. Thousands of devotees turn up at Powai Lake for Ganesh immersion. Keeping recent incidents in mind, we decided to place the nets and even deploy private and departmental boats to rescue people in case of an attack. Ambulance facility will also be made available,” he added.

Another civic official said Powai Lake has been marked as a danger zone. Vijay Rajiv Bhure, 32, was killed by a crocodile when he was fishing there on the morning of August 26.

According to an official, it becomes difficult to spot a crocodile as the reptiles hide in silt that is deposited on the shore.

“The attacks are a result of beautification being carried out around the lake, as well as tampering with the lake’s periphery,” a civic official said on condition of anonymity. He added that instead of placing temporary nylon nets, BMC should put in place permanent iron nets.

Source: Mumbai Mirror