Thursday, January 14, 2010

Senior Citizens Unite to save Powai Lake

Senior citizens unite to save Powai lake
Dhanya Nair
Posted: Mar 30, 2009 at 0118 hrs IST

Mumbai They are a motley bunch of senior citizens fighting for a cause dear to their heart-to give a fresh lease of life to the over-a-century old Powai lake. The Powai Senior Citizens' Association (PSCA) has come up with a self-sustainability plan for the lake. "Despite our old age we continue to be independent. There is no reason why a rich natural body like the Powai lake cannot do the same. Our idea is to utilise the natural bounty available in plenty around the area so that the lake can see another century," said S Subramaniam, Vice-president of PSCA.

Though the civic body's work on beautification of the lake is going on, this group wants to convert the once-picturesque Powai lake into an eco-tourist hot spot using maximum natural resources and minimum funds from the civic body. "Though the BMC has started beautification work on the lake, we just don't want a mere cosmetic face-lift. We want to change the area into another landmark for the city," said Subramaniam.

The PSCA's plan entails both cosmetic and environment-friendly changes. "Any major change can take place only after the infrastructure of the area is fully developed. The idea to convert this area into an eco-resort came to us when we saw private developers building budget hotels nearby," said another member, V Appukuttan.

Since the group wants to see the spot as a tourist destination, they want boating facilities to be remarkably improved. They also want a separate crocodile park with a nature center to come near the lake. "These attractions will surely get more tourists. We can also develop aquaculture and fish farming using harmless techniques," said Subramaniam.

They also want the de-siltation process to start soon. "The siltation in the lake has risen considerably due to the ongoing concretisation work in the area. Our main thrust is on de-silting the lake. The silted mud can be utilised to make small gardens in and around the area. Even natural waste can be used as a resource," said Appukuttan. "We would also want to raise the bund level for better water management. Also we will set a plant for waste water recycling," said Subramaniam.

The group said they will shell out some money out of their own pockets for their plans and will approach NGOs and the civic body for funds. "Once the work is done, we are hopeful the funds will be generated since it will then become a spot attracting tourists. We residents too can maintain the facilities. Also we will approach the corporate houses or any dynamic body for maintenance, this way we will not be burdening the BMC or the state government for funds," said Elsie Gabrial, Founder President, Young Environmentalists Programme Trust and a resident of the area.

The group is certain that their beloved Powai lake has still got a lot of untapped potential. "Why we need the Powai lake to be developed is because the water body is serene and calming. Also a concrete jungle like Mumbai needs a soothing spot like the Powai lake," said Gabrial.
Senior citizens unite to save Powai lake - Express India (14 January 2010)

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