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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Coastal Road Project: Two years on, BMC to appoint consultant to make compensation plan

Fisher communities, however, said the study was too late as a massive portion of the intertidal sea, where they carried out fishing activity, had already been reclaimed.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | December 3, 2020 7:36:53 am
Work for the coastal road is underway in Worli. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran, File)

Two years after reclamation work for the coastal road began, the BMC will appoint a consultant to make a comprehensive survey towards a rehabilitation and compensation policy for fisherfolk affected by the project. Fisher communities, however, said the study was too late as a massive portion of the intertidal sea, where they carried out fishing activity, had already been reclaimed.

According to the tender issued by the BMC, the appointed consultant will work for three years and prepare a detailed report on the fisherfolk likely to be affected by the project.

The consultant will be tasked to formulate Fisherfolk Rehabilitation Assessment Policy (FRAP) in relation to the Mumbai Coastal Road Project. It would be up to the consultant to do this on the basis of a baseline study conducted by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) on the impact of the coastal road on fisheries and livelihoods or it could choose to conduct its own survey.

The BMC has already formed a Fisherfolk Rehabilitation Assessment Committee (FRAC). “The consultant will have to take approval from the FRAC once the policy is ready. The committee will also have representatives of the fisherfolk community,” said a BMC official.

The BMC is constructing the 10.58-km coastal road from Princess Street Flyover at Marine Lines to the Worli end of Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

According to the application made by the BMC to Maharashtra Coastal Zonal Management Authority (MCZMA) for seeking permission for additional reclamation, until October 15, the BMC has already reclaimed 63.28 hectares near Priyadarshini Park, Mahalaxmi Temple, Breach Candy, Haji Ali and Worli.

The BMC’s application has stated that it will now require total reclamation of 111 hectares. In 2017, while securing coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance for the project from the environment ministry, the civic body said it would reclaim only 90 hectares for building the coastal road.

According to the baseline study done by CMFRI, there are 800 fisher families in Worli Koliwada with a population of 3,055. Fisherfolk from Worli and Haji Ali have opposed the coastal road project.

“Most parts have been reclaimed in our fishing area. There is nothing left to study. Now if we used to do fishing in a particular area, there is nothing to show there as that portion has already been reclaimed,” said Nitesh Patil, representative of Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavsay Sahakari Society Limited.

Last week, the civic body called representatives from fishing communities for a meeting. The fishing community has also demanded that the distance between two pillars should be 200 metres instead of 200 feet as proposed by the BMC, since it will not be enough for navigation of boats.

“The study is too late. Now, the BMC should accept fisherfolk’s demand of change in design for increasing the distance between pillars. The BMC has made design changes for Worli promenade, but they are not ready to change it for Kolis, whose livelihood will get completely wiped out,” said Shweta Wagh of Collective for Spatial Alternatives and one of the petitioners against the coastal road.

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