he group gathered at Tata Garden in Breach Candy, from where a peaceful march to Priyadarshani Park was planned.
Mumbai: Citizens and activists held a protest against the upcoming coastal road on Sunday, stating that reclamation of land for the project would harm the city’s coastline and fisherfolk’s catchment areas. The group gathered at Tata Garden in Breach Candy, from where a peaceful march to Priyadarshani Park was planned. However, the march was later foiled by the intervention of the police.
Around 80 citizens participated in the protest where the issue of reclamation was highlighted as the work has already begun at Amarsons Park and near Tata Garden. “The work has started in full swing at these two sites and huge parcels of land are being reclaimed here. We all know that when one side of the sea is reclaimed, displaced sea water goes to the other side, causing flooding,” said Amrita Bhattacharya, an activist working towards saving green spaces.
After the citizens gathered at Tata Garden, the local police intervened and the group was not allowed to leave the park. The police cited that the protest event did not have required permission, but citizens said that they had sought it beforehand. “It was only a peaceful protest march. There was no shouting or sloganeering. We had a few banners and they were set aside when the police approached us. All we wanted to do was a silent march towards Priyadarshani Park, but the police did not let us proceed,” said Susie Shah, a resident.
Other residents stated that the stir was organised to seek answers as to why the reclamation is being done. “Authorities say that the project will decongest traffic, but they don’t tell us how. We don’t know how much of the reclaimed land will be protected as an open space,” said another resident.
Around 10,000 citizens had signed an online petition protesting against reclamation for the project last month. “The reclamation will be carried out in the coastal belt of Priyadarshani Park and till Worli,” said Zoru Bhathena, an environment activist.
Meanwhile, the fishermen community recently highlighted their concerns over the impact of the project on catchment areas. “We have an example of the Worli coast where fishing activities got curbed after the Bandra-Worli sealink’s construction. There is no proper study on catchment areas through which the coastal road will pass. We demand that such a study should be undertaken first,” said Kiran Koli, secretary of Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti.
The 29.2-km-long coastal road is an ambitious project of the BMC connecting Marine Drive to Kandivali and is divided into three phases.