Sunday, May 09, 2021

Navi Mumbai airport faces rising bird-hit threats as migratory bird flights are hit by wetland burials

Mumbai: Expressing grave concern over the chaotic movements of migratory birds caused by reckless burial of wetlands and mangroves in Uran, environmentalists have cautioned the government and pilots that this would increase bird hit threats to flights at the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport.

The concern has been raised in mails to the President, the Prime Minister, Civil Aviation Minister and Chief Minister apart from a host of commercial pilots’ bodies on the perils of playing with the wetlands, the age-old landing sites for migratory birds, even as CIDCO is racing against time to launch the first phase of the Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) within the next two years.

The birds which have been missing their destination have already started flying helter-skelter  and this process, if unchecked, would cause chaos in the sky, environment-focused NGO NatConnect Foundation said in its mails addressed to ALPA India, Indian Commercial Pilots Association, Federation of Indian Pilots and Indian Pilots Guild.

“This is not a fake alarm,” asserted B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. The 130-year-old environment NGO BNHS, which is studying the bird flight pattern, has been repeatedly cautioning the government against destroying the wetlands in areas under the garb of infrastructure development.

“Now we are even more concerned at the wetland destruction because the Bombay High Court appointed Mangrove Committee orders to restore the destroyed wetlands have been ignored by the authorities, '' he said.

The 289-hectare Panje Wetland in Uran alone, for instance, attracts 10,000 to 200,000 birds during the migration seasons. “Imagine 10,000 birds in the sky flying here and there in search of food and resting place when you have flights landing and taking off at the new airport,” said “This is going to be a nightmare for any pilot,” he said.

The State government-owned urban planner CIDCO, the mighty Navi Mumbai SEZ and the centre-owned JNPT have all been responsible for the destruction with an ostrich like attitude that the wetlands do not exist, said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

08/05/21 India Blooms

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