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‘Cartoons mightier than words’: Prof objects to coastal road via sketches

The BMC has sought suggestions and objections to the project to connect South Mumbai to Kandivali via a high-speed coastal road by July 27.

 cartoons, cartoonists, BMC, coastal road project, mumbai coastal project, KRVIA, Abhijit Ekbote,mumbai news, maharashtra news, Indian Express Abhijit Ekbote will submit his sketches (right) to the BMC to object to the project to connect South Mumbai to Kandivali via a high-speed coastal road.

While citizens from across the city have been writing to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with suggestions and objections to the proposed coastal road project, Borivali resident Abhijit Ekbote decided to make the officials’ job easier. Ekbote, an assistant professor at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA), has created six sketches showcasing his objection to the ambitious project. Ekbote will submit these pencil sketches to the BMC as his objections to the project.

The BMC has sought suggestions and objections to the project to connect South Mumbai to Kandivali via a high-speed coastal road by July 27.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Ekbote said, “Cartoons have a tendency to talk faster and create a better response than write-ups. The coastal road will create plenty of problems, including increased inundation and traffic jams. On the pretext of reducing traffic in the city, the authorities are only catering to a mere four per cent of the population.”

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One of Ekbote’s sketches showcases the ‘kolis’ or the fisherfolk deprived of their traditional livelihood. The community fears that the 35.6 km road stretching from South Mumbai to the western suburbs will impact availability of fish in waters off the city. Divided into two frames, one part of the sketch shows dried fish on the shore and is titled ‘bombil’ (the fish species Mumbai is famous for) and the other half shows the road with the title ‘ata bombla’, which Ekbote explains means ‘now a hopeless situation’.

Another sketch shows a bird among dense mangroves with a thought bubble stating than even the birds will have to be treated as “project affected persons” (PAP). He has also depicted heavy flooding and threat to heritage structures through his sketches.

Earlier in June, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ gave a nod to amend coastal regulation norms to allow construction of the road, which will have 22 entry and exit points. The project, estimated to cost about Rs 12,000 crore, has been hanging fire for almost four years as it will involve reclamation of about 150 hectares from sea and mangroves.

Ask Ekbote about the inception of these ideas and the 40-year-old credits them to his constant interaction with his students and colleagues. Ekbote has previously too been actively involved in environmental issues affecting Mumbai.

tanushree.venkatraman@expressindia.com

First published on: 26-07-2015 at 00:37 IST
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