Mumbai : Apart from Rs 5 crore sanctioned in the budget 2016-17 for Powai lake beautification, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to spend an additional undecided sum of money for the maintenance of the lake. It intends to convert Powai Lake into a tourist spot by developing attractions such as boating, a promenade, cycling tracks, gardens, and a musical water fountain.

However, the administration’s decision to undertake this project has not gone down well with the corporators. Manoj Kotak, Leader of the BJP in the civic body, has alleged that the civic body ‘wasted’ Rs 18 crore on a similar project it started at the lake in 2009. It included installation of a musical water fountain that is presently out of order. Moreover, corporators have been pushing for the BMC to undertake the lake beautification through a Public Private Partnership project, that the civic administration is not keen on taking up.

Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner in-charge of the project, said “The PPP model did not work out, as it required charging tourists a basic entrance fee, that people were unwilling to pay. BMC has the money to spend on this project. We do not need help from private organisations.”  The BMC then relieved the contractor it had hired in 2009, dismissed a steering committee it had appointed to advice on beautification and cleanliness projects for the lake and has redrafted the plan for its maintenance.

Mukherjee said that there is an urgent need to set up micro sewerage treatment plants at 12 ingress points within the lake that are serving as an inlet for sewerage water to pollute the lake. After the completion of this project, the civic body will come up with a detailed plan to for lake beautification. It has presently given out a contract to rid the lake of water hyacinths teeming its surface within six months. The contractor will also maintain the lake for five years thereafter.

It has also sent notices to housing societies around the lake to set up sewerage treatment plants. The defaulter housing societies will be fined by the Pollution Control Board.

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