After city residents and activists alleged that only 10 hectares of green space would be available out of a total reclamation of 90 hectares for the Mumbai Coastal Road project, the BMC has come up with a fresh number of 95 hectares reclamation for the project and maintained that open space will be about 70 hectares.
However, the extra five hectares suddenly added by the BMC has not convinced activists, who point out that all official documents of the civic body show 90 hectares reclamation.
Recently, residents and activists under the ‘Save Our Coast’ group had put out a chart (based on correspondence between the BMC and MoEF on the Coastal Road) showing that out of 90 hectares, 20 hectares will be used for roads and carriageway, green space would be 70 hectares and median 3.96 hectares. Activists have pointed out that in these documents, out of 70 hectares of green space, 56 hectares are reserved for amenities such as police posts, bus stops and depots and road maintenance, leaving only 10 hectares as pure green space. The Indian Express on May 2 reported activists countering the civic body’s figures of reclaimed open space.
The BMC had termed the activists’ calculation as “rumours” and, in an official reply to people, said that total reclamation will be 95.25 hectares, of which 69.25 hectares will remain as open space. According to the BMC, 25.75 hectares will be for road carriageway. Out of the total open area with amenities, 47.18 hectares would be recreational green open areas like garden, jogging tracks, amusement parks and flower gardens. Only 22 hectares would be used for constructing amenities, the BMC said.
Activist Zoru Bhathena said that while in all official correspondence between the BMC and MoEF, it shows that reclamation will be 90 hectares, now they have changed that number to 95 hectares. He pointed out that in the new claim by the BMC, land allotted for road carriageway too had increased to 25 hectares from 20 hectares. “There is no clarity from where these new figures have come. This is manipulation to show balance 70 hectares areas (as open space). The BMC itself didn’t know about exact reclamation and now they have changed it,” Bhathena said.
When asked about the change in figures of reclamation, a senior civic official from the Coastal Road department said, “The figure of 90 hectares mentioned in the letter was ‘about’ and it was anticipated there might be change in figures when design and other things are finalised and work starts. The open space figures will not be changed and it will remain 70 hectares.”