RESIDENTS AND activists are up in arms against the land reclamation for the multi-crore Mumbai Coastal Road Project off Breach Candy and Priyadarshini Park.
Residents have warned of a public movement against the project if the BMC doesn’t opt for a stilt or a bridge instead of land reclamation. On Saturday, general secretary of the Priyadarshani Park trust, Susieben Shah, and citizens’ groups from the two areas held a meeting under the banner ‘Save Our Coast’ and interacted with civic officials executing the project.
“There is no transparency in the implementation of the project. It will affect residents from Tata Garden to Mahalaxmi Temple. The BMC was supposed to conduct a public hearing before planning the road but nothing happened. They don’t have schematic drawings, there is no detail plan available. No one knows how reclamation will take place,” Shah said.
“We asked for detailed plans and they said in one month, they will give all the plans to the residents. This is surprising that the BMC has started construction but they need one month to show us the plan,” she added.
“We don’t trust the BMC. All residents should be taken into confidence. The civic body can construct a sea link or a bridge in place of land reclamation,” said Shah.
Hundreds of residents, including former Congress MP Milind Deora and BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, also attended the meeting. The BMC has recently started work on the construction of 9.97-km coastal road plan — worth Rs 12,000 crore — from Marine Lines to Worli.
Green activist Zoru Bhathena, who attended the meeting, said: “The project has not been planned properly. We were shocked to know that the road is going to cost Rs 800 crore per kilometre. However, the underground Metro 3 line costs Rs 750 crore per kilometre. The cost of the coastal road project is a clear indication of the spurious budgets passed, which could be intended to grease the system from top to bottom.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Deputy Municipal Commissioner R S Kuknoor, who was also part of the meeting, said: “Residents are opposing the reclamation and want a bridge or a sea link. But at this stage it is not possible. We have chosen the best option after exploring 12 types of permutations and combinations. The project is not only approved by state government but also the Centre. We have taken all environmental clearances. When it was in planning stage, hardly anyone gave suggestions.”
“At this stage, no change is possible. In future, if there is any change, then it will require central government’s nod. The work is in the execution stage. We are going to provide residents all details of the project. It will be beneficial for the city in long term as it will reduce the 18,000 carbon footprints,” he added.