Moving ahead with its plan to build a park on reclaimed land, on the lines of the Central Park in New York, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to study the impact of reclaiming land from the sea on the city’s environment, and how it is likely to affect the livelihood patterns of the coastal fishing community.
Before rolling out its ambitious plan to build a 300-acre park by reclaiming land from the Arabian Sea, between Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade – by using debris excavated from the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro III and the coastal road project – the civic body has appointed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, to study the effects of the proposed reclamation on the environment and the neighbourhood.
The 300 acres to be reclaimed is between Geeta Nagar at Cuffe Parade and NCPA at Nariman Point. According to officials, besides the effect of the proposed reclamation, the civic body wants to understand other issues like whether cutting down trees for the Metro III and coastal road projects would lead to any ecological imbalance.
“There are three agencies that will look into the project. Apart from NEERI and NIO, we are appointing another agency which will study the area, prepare a map of the area and study the slum population around Geeta Nagar in Cuffe Parade to NCPA, Nariman Point, with the purpose of their rehabilitation,” said a senior BMC official. Further, the civic body will pay Rs 24 lakh to the third consulting agency for studying the area.
NIO and NEERI have been entrusted with the responsibility of surveying the area to be reclaimed for creating Mumbai’s ‘Central Park’ by dumping debris to be excavated from Metro III and coastal road projects.
Elaborating, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “There was a need to demarcate the area to be reclaimed for the project. The two agencies will study and survey the area to be reclaimed and also its surroundings, depth of the sea around the area, suggest precautions to be taken, etc. The agencies have been also asked to see whether or not mangroves will be impacted by the project.”
The two agencies are expected to conclude the study within 45 days. However, sources said beaches in Dadar and Mahim have suffered due to erosion caused by such reclamations. Mehta said, “We also want to study the livelihood patterns of the coastal community and fishermen. The main idea is to ensure that the livelihood of fisher folk is not affected due to creation of a park”. The civic body is also exploring ways to create a jetty to enable fishermen to get into the waters for fishing activities.