Photo exhibition urges authorities to focus on the big picture

Grim reminder: Volunteers from NGOs hold aloft pictures of various forms of marine life which will be affected by the coastal road project, at Worli sea face.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

About 100 citizens gathered at Worli sea face on Monday and put up a unique photo exhibition by holding aloft specially curated pictures of various forms of marine life, which will be affected by the coastal road project.

Volunteers from NGOs like Save Our Coast, Love Your Parks (Mumbai), #MahimBeachCleanUp, Bombay Greenway Project and Marine Life of Mumbai took part in the protest to spread awareness of the adverse impact the project would have on marine life. The exhibition also included stills of people relaxing at Worli sea face to send across the message to Mumbaikars that they would end up losing the 83-year-old promenade to the project.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had recently started work on the ₹12,000-crore project by reclaiming land from the sea to build an eight-lane, 9.97-km highway from Marine Lines to the Worli end of Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which will connect south Mumbai to the western suburbs. The BMC will be taking over the existing 2-km promenade and building a new 6.4 km-long, 20-metre-wide one on reclaimed land.

Mamata Mangaldas, a member of Save Our Coast, said, “The BMC doesn’t seem to have conducted the necessary studies to assess the impact the project would have on the environment. They are reclaiming 200 acres of land from Napean Sea Road to Haji Ali. If we study their reports, we see that out of the 200 acres, 13% is going to be open spaces and the rest will be used for public amenities, which can be commercialised.”

The protesters said that the coastal road is primarily being constructed for cars and would only benefit the elite in society. They said that the majority of the city’s population uses public transport and so civic authorities should focus more on improving the functioning of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, the Railways and the Metro.

Tina Nandi, a volunteer at Love Your Parks (Mumbai), said, “The BMC can plan to improve the existing infrastructure. The BEST is running out of funds and the buses are half empty all the time. The railway infrastructure also needs to be developed. When so many concerns already exist, focussing on the coastal road project is extremely unnecessary.”

The protesters said that they are fighting against the project because they believe that if they do not, then it will significantly damage the city’s environment.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 9:48:45 PM |

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