AURANGABAD: A day after TOI reported how fresh alleged illegal structures using tin-sheds have come up in the fringe areas of the Salim Ali Lake, the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) swung into action and removed part of these temporary structures on Wednesday morning.
The anti-encroachment staff of local civic body reached the lake early on Wednesday morning and razed the structures that had come up near the entry of a walkway. The civic body, however, allegedly ignored similar constructions that have come up in the vicnity.
Rajendra Sawaiwala, who claimed to be an owner of the 180 feet by 115 feet area near Salim Ali whose tin sheet structure was taken down on Wednesday, questioned why two similar structures near his were left untouched during the civic body action.
“I am going to sit for indefinite agitation in front of AMC for such partial action. It is huge injustice to us and we will raise our voice against such discrimination,” he said, reiterating his claim over the land on the fringe area of the lake.
Environmentalist Kishor Pathak said selective crackdown against illegal activities in and around Salim Ali Lake was not going to serve the main purpose of conserving the biodiversity of the water body.
“Two shops of used furniture still exist on the periphery of lake in an unauthorised manner. It is blatant and brazen violation of the Aurangabad bench of Bombay high court verdic, which in 2014 clearly asked the AMC to conserve the biodiversity at the lake by banning any human activity. We demand all-out action against each and every illegal activity near the lake,” he said.
As per the environmentalists, legendary ornithologist Dr Salim Ali had visited the lake during his stay in Aurangabad in 1984 and recognized its rich and diverse birdlife. Thereafter, the lake was named after him with experts consistently demanding that it be declared a biodiversity hotspot.
MIM MLA from Aurangabad Central constituency Imtiaz Jaleel, in whose constituency the lake falls, said partial action against illegal activities could imply involvement of land sharks. “The civic officials might be acting under pressure from land sharks and therefore, they could not dare to touch the remaining illegal constructions,” he said.
When contacted, M B Kazi, in-charge of anti-encroachment department of AMC, refuted charges of selective action near Salim Ali Lake.
“We are duty bound to act against all illegal activities. The crackdown near lake has just been initiated and would continue till it is completed,” he said. Kazi also paid personal visit to lake on Wednesday to take stock of the situation in the wake of claims for legal ownership of land coming up.