January 7, 2022 1:20:18 am
TWO months since the construction of the Coastal Road interchange at Worli was stopped by protesting fishermen, Environment Minister and local MLA Aaditya Thackeray held a virtual meeting with the community on Thursday.
Fisheries minister Aslam Shaikh, Industry Minister Subhash Desai, the BMC commissioner and officials were also present.
Calling the meeting “misleading”, the fisherfolk said the issue of navigation of their boats remained unresolved.
They also said that the work on the interchange should not commence till Aaditya Thackeray visits the site to understand the issue. Since October last year, fisherfolk have prevented the construction of an interchange that will connect the Coastal Road to the existing Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
As per the plan, the civic body is providing a span of 60 metres between two pillars of the interchange while the fisherfolk demand a navigational span of 200 metres for safe passage of their boats.
One of the participants in the meeting said the BMC reiterated its suggestion of appointing a qualified, independent and recognised organisation by the fisherfolk to review their demands.
However, fisherfolk demanded a joint inspection of the disputed area.
With machinery lying unused at the site for over two months, BMC has earlier stated that the protest caused loss running in crores per day. In Thursday’s meeting, the civic body suggested proceeding with the construction other than that of the interchange.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “They (Worli fisherfolk) have permitted us to start work of pillar
1 to 5.”
However, fishermen have said they will not allow BMC contractors to begin any construction in the sea at the site until their demands are met.
Expressing discontent with the meeting’s proceedings, Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavsay Sahakari Society Ltd. and Worli Koliwada Sarvoday Sahakari Society, two fishing societies from Worli who participated in the online meeting, said the purpose of the meeting was not to address their concerns.
“On the contrary, it appeared that the meeting was intended towards justifying the stand of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to restrict the navigation span to 60 m, which endangers our lives,” a member said.
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