Do we need the metro to pass through Powai?
The Metro was originally supposed to run between BKC to Kanjurmarg to increase the connectivity. The Environment Assessment Report's confirmation on exactly how many citizens use the Metro's in the city is still a mystery?
As of now the Metro which has found a new route from the Swamirth Nagar in Lokhandwala junction will go via the periphery of the serene Powai lake and the already congested Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) up to Eastern Express Highway to the last station in Vikhroli.
With hilly, rocky landscapes and shallow waterbeds around the Powai lake, the Metro route is going to not only devour the bio-diversity of the Powai Lake but prove fatal to the stability of the flyovers and nearby infrastructures. Whether it's over head or underground the Metro will completely destroy Powai, leave alone the fact that it is not needed in the first place. The existing connectivity should be first straightened out.
The periodical phases of beautification inside and outside the lake have been stalled delaying the cleanup of the Powai Lake. All development proposals outside the lake have been put on hold, which means that the Powai Lake will stand waiting for another decade until the outrageously slow completion of the Metro will be done around its periphery. Work for improving the quality of water by aeration to develop marine life will also be questionable as cleaning inside a lake with outside construction will prove futile, as they are not separate entities.
The diversions of the sewage water going into the lake and all its underground plans will surely go down the drains. To reduce water pollution, the authorities had also decided to set up a sewage pumping station, which would additionally prevent the entry of sewage water into the lake and divert it into a nearby sewage main. Where is the place now for the sewage station with Metro line 6 eating into plans of protecting the Powai Lake.
Grand plans of constructing a basking area for crocodiles were to be developed instead of a park without having conducted a research on how many crocodiles are there in the lake and exactly where this crocodile basking area would be assigned. It's not as if the crocodiles are in a Zoo or enclosed habitat, they are spread in their natural habitat and move freely, therefore cannot be captured and enforced to sit in the basking park? However, any of these works are likely to be affected by Mumbai Metro-6 works. Leave alone the agony of the commuters who use bus or walk. Not to forget the traffic jams that cough up pollution and accidents.
(Elsie Gabriel is an award winning post graduate certified Green Teacher and Environmental Law expert. With twenty years of writing experience she has travelled to remote corners of the earth researching, photographing, documenting facts that bind the threads of anthropological wonder. Powai runs in her veins)