The study states that Navi Mumbai harbours an extensive bird diversity which is now being threatened by fast-paced development. Around 287 species were observed within 10 kms of the proposed site between 2012 and 2016.
The site of the Navi Mumbai International Airport at Panvel in Maharashtra faces a high risk of bird hit. This was the finding of a five-year study conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) between 2012 and 2016. According to an IE report, the study states that Navi Mumbai harbours an extensive bird diversity which is now being threatened by fast-paced development. The study observed around 287 species within 10 kms of the proposed site since December 2011. According to the BNHS, as many as six ‘globally threatened’ and eight ‘near threatened’ species, including the Lesser Flamingo and Black-headed Ibis, were observed in abundance at the site during the study period.
As a next step, the BNHS will now conduct a ten-year study in consultation with the City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO) on ways to curtail bird hits at the site of the airport. This study would involve understanding the patterns of migrating birds and suggesting measures for ensuring minimum disruption to their habitat. A senior CIDCO official was quoted in the report saying that after the study showed chances of bird hits at the airport, they approached BNHS for consultation. Based on the inputs by BNHS, they will implement the design plans and take required action. They will also pay a fee of Rs 10 crore to BNHS for consultation over the ten years.
Lokesh Chandra, Managing Director of CIDCO was quoted in the report saying that the study by BNHS will help them take precautionary measures to avoid conflicts with birds. A 2,054-hectare area at Panvel has been demarcated as the Navi Mumbai airport zone. The area around the site consists of creeks, rivers and mangroves. They serve as a habitat for the converging birds as well as for the Karnala Bird Sanctuary which is located near the site.
The construction of Navi Mumbai International Airport is likely to involve reclamation of mangroves, diversion of rivers, blasting of hills, and disturbance to habitats of many bird species. According to the daily’s report, environmentalists have raised objections over the ecological damage to the area due to the construction of the airport. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests gave the stage-II forest and wildlife clearance in 2016 with which CIDCO has acquired all approvals needed to construct the airport.