Sena-ruled BMC tweaks coastal road project to placate fisherfolk

Construction work in progress at the coastal road site in Mumbai.

Construction work in progress at the coastal road site in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: File Photo

To dilute the opposition by Mumbai’s fisherfolk to the under-construction coastal road in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said that state-of-the-art fenders will be installed on sea-bridge pillars to avoid any collision of fishing boats. The BMC also promised insurance in case of any accident for which it would pay premium instalments for the next 20 years.

The BMC has said that it will do the valuation of possible loss of fishing income and was willing to pay the interim compensation initially. After conducting a detailed valuation through Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), The BMC said it would pay the remaining compensation.

The Mumbai Coastal Road Project — from Marine Drive to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link — is a dream project of the Shiv Sena, which is ruling the BMC at present. The 9.98km road also includes a state-of-the-art underwater tunnel below Malabar Hill in south Mumbai. Worli is also the Assembly constituency of State Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, son of Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. With the latest move, the BMC body wants to ensure that opposition to the project does not escalate, especially ahead of civic elections due later this year.  

The fisherfolk in Worli’s Cleaveland Jetty had demanded an increase in the distance between two pillars (navigation span) of the sea bridge connecting Worli to Bandra to 200 meter from the existing 60 meters. They had claimed that the proposed 60 meter would affect their business and may cause accidents. They had also taken their boats in the sea as a sign of protest, bringing the ongoing work at halt. To prove their point, their organisation had referred to a report by the Head of the Geography department of Ratnagiri’s Gogate-Joglekar College Dr. Surendra Thakurdesai, which had said that the minimum distance should be 160 meters.

However, Chakradhar Kandalkar, chief engineer of the coastal road project, said, “We had sent the report for remarks to National Institute of Oceanography. It has said that the proposed 60 meter width of the navigation span is adequate”.

The BMC has said it would work on sorting out problems faced by the fisherfolk and has announced several incentives, the key ones being installation of fenders and payment of premium instalments for next 20 years for provision of accident insurance in case of collision.

The civic body has also said that navigation spans will be equipped with CCTVs and along with renovation of the existing jetty, a new additional jetty will be constructed.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 9:20:33 pm |