Coastal road ruling: Chief Justice gives an account of city’s history

The Coastal Road under construction at the coast of Breach Candy in South Mumbai on Monday.

The Coastal Road under construction at the coast of Breach Candy in South Mumbai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

219-page judgement mentions islands, reclamation, population, traffic congestion

While ruling against the coastal road project on Tuesday, Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, explained the entire history of Mumbai, why it is called the island city, and how the traffic grew that led to the need for coastal roads.

The Chief Justice said, “The metropolitan city lies on the western coast of India by the bank of the Arabian Sea. Mumbai is made of a group of seven islands and is thus referred to as the island city. They are Isle of Bombay, Mazgaon, Colaba, Old Woman’s Island, Parel, Worli, and Salsette Island.”

The 219-page judgement read, “It took over 150 years to join the original seven islands. These islands were lush green, thickly wooded, and dotted with 22 hills, with the Arabian Sea washing through them at high tide. After the British arrived, the demand for land steadily increased, and by 1730, it was becoming impossible to accommodate the entire population of Mumbai inside the Fort. The sea was making inroads into Worli, Mahim and Mahalaxmi, which turned the ground between the islands into a swamp, making travel hazardous.”

It read, “Around 90,000 square yard of land was reclaimed on the western shore of Colaba by the City Improvement Trust; the work was completed in 1905. A seaside promenade (Cuffe Parade) was completed the next year. The next reclamation took place in 1836 when the development of the Mumbai port began. Major quarrying had already begun in 1870.”

The order said, “The first Backbay Reclamation Company was formed in the 1960s with the purpose to reclaim the whole of Backbay. A proposal was made in 1917 to reclaim 607 hectares of land between Colaba and Backbay. The project was taken over by the Development Directorate who planned to reclaim 463 hectares, and relocated the Colaba terminus to Bombay Central. The work continued till 1945. Eventually, 177 hectares were developed by 1929, of which 94 hectares were sold to the military, and six hectares were incorporated into the Marine Drive and its seawall.”

The judgement said, “The Coastal Regulation Zone was promulgated in 1990, banning reclamation for commercial activities. As the city grew, the population increased. Apart from housing, vehicular traffic increased. On June 30, 2011, the State government set up a joint technical committee to consider whether coastal roads in Mumbai are a possible solution to solve traffic congestion.”

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:39:43 PM |

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