The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI) survey report studying the impact of the BMC’s ambitious coastal road project on fisherfolks shows that at least 45 fishing community members lost their livelihood due to reclamation work at Haji Ali, Amarsons garden and Priyadarshni Park seashores.
The preliminary ‘Rapid survey report on the demography and fisheries of proposed coastal road project site’, submitted by the ICAR-CMFRI before Maharashtra Fisheries Commissioner observed that Haji Ali seashore has crab and oyster fishing ground.
“From Lotus Jetty (at Haji Ali), at least 25 fishing boats are operating, but now 85 per cent of the land is being reclaimed. Hence, this centre will be of no use for fishing activities and the livelihood of these fishermen will be deprived,” the report states.
“Likewise, at Amarsons Garden no fishing will be possible due to reclamation and at Priyadarshini Park, where the seashore has crabs and oysters, green and blue algae will be destroyed and five fishing boats (operating) from this area will be permanently deprived from livelihood,” the report states. It adds that there is no exit point to the sea for boats at Priyadarshini Park.
According to the report, approximately 12 hectares will be reclaimed at Priyadarshini Park, about 12 hectares at Amarsons Garden and another 15 hectares at Haji Ali. In all, the civic body has proposed reclamation of 91 hectares for the 9.96-km eight-lane coastal road project from Marine Lines (Princess Street Flyover) to Worli end of Sea-Link. The project, estimated to cost around Rs 12,000 crore, will ease vehicular traffic moving from South Mumbai to the suburbs.
The ICAR-CMFRI report was prepared after the Bombay High Court ordered the BMC and Fisheries Department to conduct a survey with the help of experts to study the impact of the coastal road project along the west coast, from Worli Sealink to Priyadarshini Park.
The report — conducted about 200 metres deep inside the sea by collecting details of artisanal fishing operation that were going on along proposed coastal road and in intertidal zone of proposed project — was submitted before the court on April 9 by the petitioners. The CMFRI, however, has suggested that a detail study be conducted to arrive at an overall conclusion.
In February, Worli fisherfolk had moved the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on the ongoing reclamation for coastal road project, which could endanger their livelihoods by destroying fishing grounds and fish breeding areas. Ashish Rana, a fisherman from Priyadarshini Park area had filed a complaint with the BMC after his fishing activity was affected. “Even after several requests, I was not able to get my boats out and go for fishing. Now, the CMFRI report has confirmed what I had always said. The reclamation has blocked way for my boats,” Rana told The Indian Express.