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The lake might look artificial’
Posted On Saturday, January 19, 2008

The proposed beautification of Powai lake has miffed the local residents who say that the project isn’t being planned properly and some have even said, post beautification, the lake might lose its natural beauty

Elsie Gabriel

The beautification of the Powai lake has had the local residents angry as the authorities haven’t taken into consideration the residents. The whole beautification procedure, lament residents, was reportedly outlined by the government body and merely presented to the public.

Experts say, the lights and music, if added, will definitely disturb the wildlife and the lake life

According to the plan, the authorities are planning change for a makeover of the lake and planning to introduce coloured lights and a musical fountain within the lake.

Says Debi Goenka, an environmentalist from BEAG, "I have opposed to the reduction in the size of the lake as the revamp means further reclamation along the scout camping ground. Having a fountain in the lake would change the character of the lake and make it look artificial. The lights and music if added will definitely disturb the wildlife and the lake life," he complains.

Locals say that citizens want to come to the lake to just enjoy the nature, get some tranquility, and not any instrumental music or an artificial fountain. "The surroundings will get polluted with noise from the music. It will disturb the natural balance of the lake, it will also be a ridiculous waste of money," outlines Powai resident Fred Hamilton.

However residents allege that the environmental assessment, which is vital when such a makeover is planned, isn’t done properly.

An environmental assessment is vital before taking on such a gigantic project. However several of them allege that no consultations were taken into consideration before hand and this would involve high risks having future repercussions.

Sahu elaborates further, "After the beautification, one side of the lake is bound to appear beautiful, but a major section of the lake will still remain ugly. We need restoration and action on the entire span of the lake, not just in parts," he says.

While many are opposed to the plan, some say that the planning cane be done more aesthetically. "A series of smaller fountains if aesthetically distributed can be more favorable than having a single gigantic one. This makeover is bound to keep the feathered creatures away from the lake," points out Prof C K Sahu.

Another resident of Powai Asha Panemanglore, who raised the question on the environmental sustainability at the Powai lake says that the increase in tourist would badly affect the traffic situation in the area.

"Where is the place for parking at the lake front if it becomes a tourist spot and who will control garbage thrown by visitors," she asks.Questions Vivienne Choudhary of the Young Environmentalists Program at Powai, "The assessment is a must, which would surely identify recognized environmental conditions both within and adjacent to the proposed project site. If it will be harmful to the water bodies of the lake, the best solution is to shifted it to the other side."

The beautification plan should encompass physical, chemical and biological relationships that take place in and around the Powai Lake. Keshav Murugan resident of Hiranandnai Gardens opines, "We should not have a musical fountain. The lake should be dredged and fishes should be released into the lake.

" Celebrated singer Hariharan, also a resident of Powai lays the stress on cleaning up the lake first. "I feel that we need to clean the lake of weeds and debris first. No matter if cannot make it a Brindavan, but at least beautify the periphery and also lighten it up."

Several residents however are sure that the project is going to take ages to get completed. "The mere the process of de-silting the lake took the authorities a decade or more to workout, and even if the beautification is done, it will take lot of time," says another resident.