Fishermen from Worli Koliwada and local residents have alleged that despite the Bombay High Court restraining the Brihanmunbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from carrying out further reclamation work for the coastal road project, the civic body had, on the contrary, “expedited” the work.
On Thursday, the high court ordered the BMC to stop reclamation work along the west coast from Marine Drive to Worli end of the sea link until April 23. The high court’s order came on a petition by city-based architect Shweta Wagh against the reclamation, stating that it could destroy the livelihood of fishermen and marine ecology.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Wagh said that the high court directed the BMC to stop further reclamation for the coastal road project in areas not already reclaimed but the civic body is flouting the directive by continuing with the work.
“According to the fisherfolk in Worli, the pace of work has accelerated in the past two days and is being carried out mostly at night. An average of 150-200 truckloads of debris still continue to be dumped everyday in the Worli area. A van full of policemen, including senior police officers, were present to prevent obstruction to work. The BMC wants to finish the reclamation work before the next hearing. This amounts to blatant violation and contempt of court,” Wagh said.
“Now the high court will open on Monday. Looking at the pace of work, the BMC will finish reclaiming the remaining part of Worli Koliwada side, which will destroy the fishing areas completely,” she added.
Similar complaints were made by residents of Napean Sea Road and Worli Seaface. A fisherman from Worli said, “BMC officials are not ready to listen and using police force to continue with the work. The BMC-appointed contractor says they don’t have instructions from the civic body to stop work.”
Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Coastal Road, R S Kuknoor did not respond to calls.
A senior BMC official said, “We don’t want to comment as the matter is sub-judice. But the high court order (of April 11) doesn’t mention any specific instructions on stopping new reclamation.”
The BMC is constructing a 9.96-km coastal road from Marine Drive to Worli end of the sea link. Environmentalists and people fear the reclamation will destroy marine biology along the coast, besides endangering the livelihood of fishermen.