In its affidavit, the BMC said the proposed walkway is essential for proper safeguard and maintenance of the lake and would enable the civic maintenance staff to have ready access to all portions of the lakefront.
The forest department in its affidavit has suggested the setting up of a team of wildlife experts to study the lake habitat of the crocodiles with a special emphasis on the nesting and basking sites.
The affidavits were filed in reply to the application by NGO Vanashakti against the construction of the cycling track by the BMC around the lake.
“…BMC can then take steps to prevent sewage being dumped into the lake either directly by culverts/pipes or by joining sewage pipes through storm water drains,” states the affidavit.
The matter came up before the tribunal for hearing on Wednesday. The counsel for the BMC claimed IIT does not listen to the BMC, to which the NGT observed that it is the BMC’s duty to regulate construction and must prosecute IIT for breach of law. The tribunal said land is a state subject under the Constitution.
To this, the BMC claimed that IIT is not allowing it access to the lake. The NGT said it would order the police to offer protection to the BMC.
In its affidavit, the forest department said it is a freshwater lake and not part of any forest or a protected area and is located within the territorial limits of the BMC.
“The lake does have a decent population of marsh crocodiles, which have been resident here for many decades and (we) apprehend adverse impact on account of pollution and construction of a cycling and jogging track,” stated the affidavit.
The forest department has suggested the setting up of a team of wildlife experts as the marsh crocodiles have been accorded the highest level of statutory protection under the Wildlife Protection Act. The team, it said, should be allowed to study the lake habitat of the crocodiles with a special emphasis on the nesting and basking sites.
“The cumulative effect of continuous pollution from multiple sources renders a high probability the crocodiles could be affected in the long term by reduction in fish, chemically induced diseases or malfunction in reproductive physiology. It is imperative that sewage discharge and also use of toxic chemicals be halted,” reads the affidavit.
The NGT has heard all parties finally and has reserved the case for passing of a final order.