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Wednesday, 03 May, 2017, 09 : 30 AM [IST]

Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre opens in Navi Mumbai, 3rd in India

The state-of-the-art Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMCB) was on inaugurated in Airoli, Navi Mumbai making it the country’s third marine interpretation centre after Port Blair and Rameswaram. The Navi Mumbai centre, which is just off the Thane Creek, is part of the planned Thane Flamingo Sanctuary, reports The Indian Express. The centre aims to provide a glimpse into the marine and coastal biodiversity around Mumbai. The state government also announced that it would replicate the famous “Dubai Garden Glow” in Navi Mumbai by the end of 2018. The venue is now open for tourists, and boat rides will begin after May 15. The entry fee for tourists is INR 50.

In August 2015, the Maharashtra government had declared an area of 1,690 hectares on the northern stretch of Thane Creek between Airoli and Vashi bridges as a wildlife sanctuary and later as a ‘flamingo sanctuary’. The newly opened 7,000-square-foot construction is the first phase of CMCB, which would provide information to visitors in unique ways. For instance, visitors can stand against a large wall and compare their height with some turtles.

The other features of the information centre includes watching a ‘turtle’ lay eggs, smell mangroves, see what a crab looks like from all angles and hear what a bird sounds like while singing to attract a mate. All these can be experienced through multi-sensory and mechanical exhibits at the Airoli centre.

The creek, which is a haven for almost 200 species of resident as well as migratory birds, including rare Osprey and Greater Spotted Eagle, will also be opened for boat rides. At Rs 250, visitors will be able to take a boat ride through the thick mangrove cover, towards Diva and Vashi.

Officials said over 600 marine species would be displayed at the CMCB and all the exhibits had been built in Germany and shipped to Airoli. Here, tourists visiting the centre can hear the sounds of whales and flamingos to get a better understanding of their life as well as information about marine ecology. The centre was a built in collaboration with the Indo-German (GIZ) Project on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Marine Protected Areas.

However, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Minister for Forest and Revenue, Government of Maharashtra, said that the state was planning to organise three free visits per week for each municipal school.

The Minister also revealed that the state would set up a ‘Garden Gloe’ in Navi Mumbai just like the renowned Dubai Garden Glow. This project is expected to be completed in 18 months.

Dubai Garden Glow is a leading family entertainment destination in the Middle East that attracts local and international visitors.

According to state officials, the second phase of the information centre in Airoli, which is pegged at Rs 10 crore, is envisaged to be India’s first marine mammal museum with skeletal remains of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Additional facilities like a mangrove trail using a boardwalk on one end of the site, a separate centre for educating students about crab-farming, a bird-hide to spot and photograph avifauna and an artificial water body will soon be set up, officials added.

The other marine interpretation centres in the country are Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Port Blair in Andaman, and Gulf of Mannar Marine Interpretation Centre near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. (Source: The Indian Express)

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