Fishermen across Mumbai have threatened to disrupt the ongoing construction work on the ambitious coastal road project, with the Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti alleging on Wednesday that even after multiple meetings with officials, the latter have refused to accept their demands. The organisation, which represents several thousand members of the Koli community, said the coastal road would affect their operations off areas, including Priyadarshani Park, Lotus Jetty and Worli Koliwada at Worli, Chimbai in Bandra, Khar Danda and Juhu Moregaon.
Damodar Tandel, the president of the Samiti, said: “We are not against the coastal road project, as the city needs decongestion. But this should not be at the cost of the livelihood of fishermen. There have been two major issues, one is the gap between pillars and the other is the reclamation at Priyadarshani Park. The gap between proposed two pillars needs to be wider, and the reclamation near Priyadarshani and Amarsons is underway at a breeding spot. The spot is full of different types of fish and other marine creatures, including shellfish. They will be completely wiped out.”
He claimed that after the construction of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, fishing activities were adversely affected. “We won’t let this happen again. The municipal commissioner and chief engineer of the coastal road department have refused to hear us or find a solution for our concerns. If officials don’t respond by next week, then all fishermen societies will come together and stall the work.”
Earlier, The Indian Express had reported that fishermen in Worli stalled the geo-technical survey for pillars, due to which the final design of the stretch was delayed. Fishermen have demanded that the gap between pillars be increased to 200 metres from the current design of 60 metres.
Harishchandra Nakwa from the Worli Fishermen Society said: “The NOCs of fishermen communities were taken through some bogus representatives of the Koli community. We were not aware of the destruction and the gap between the pillars as we did not have any documents. It was when the work was started that we somehow got to know about the exact location of pillars and the reclamation.” He added that there are over 250 fishing boats in the Worli area.