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Your report on BMC initiating clean up operations for Powai Lake (Bombay Times: 13.06.2001) correctly reflects the scepticism of the local residents. Recent spurt in appearance of such news items ,and some banners in Marathi near the IIT area, are only token rituals with an eye on the elections. For building credibility, BMC should publish a detailed Action Plan, with dated milestones. We for one would like to have answers to the following:

1. How many thousand tons of silt needs to be dredged? What mode of dredging will be adopted?  How much time will it take?
2. Where will the dredged silt be collected? How will it be transported to its final destination, and where is this dumping site? Ideally, the dredged silt should be dumped in the quarried areas, profiled, landscaped and greened, as is done abroad. This will help improve the quality of the depleted catchment area.
3. The five drains which have been in the news recently, should be kept open for their original purpose, viz. channelising rain water from the catchment area into the lake. Has the sewage from the residential, institutional and industrial areas been diverted away from these rain water drains and the lake?
4. What steps will be taken to detoxify the highly polluted lake water, and make it fit for fish.
5. Has any study been done to determine the total load of urbanisation that the Powai ecosystem can bear? Any further 'development' will ruin Powai permanently, and it will become a denser concrete jungle than what it already is, thanks to MHADA ,other builders and a compliant BMC.

Unless a long term holistic view of the problem is undertaken and a total solution worked out, rest will be a waste of public money. Exemplary levies on all the guilty parties, i.e. MHADA, the builders,quarriers, the deluxe hotels, the IIT and offending industries should be used for the regular maintenance of the lake. And what about the those who gave permission for these 'developmental activities', against established guidelines?

S.K. Saksena
B/703, Golden Oak, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai 400 076