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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Need basic facilities… not 4-lane bridge, say villagers

Father Edward Jacito from Holy Magi Church in Gorai said, “We have our own way of life, our traditions. Our village is not urbanised at all. A four-lane road and bridge will not benefit us. Our mangroves will be cut and cars from Mumbai will come.”

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
December 12, 2021 12:43:26 am
Several youths, advocates, members of civil society, various NGOs, retired bureaucrats and others joined the march, holding placards and banners which read: ‘Justice for Vicky Middukhera.’

Fearing urbanisation and destruction of mangroves, villagers of Gorai and nearby areas in Mumbai are protesting against a proposed bridge that would connect the area with Borivali.

The bridge – slated to come up over Gorai creek – has been in the pipeline since 2005. It is estimated to reduce travel time between Gorai and Borivali by an hour. At present, one has to access the village via a ferry or by road from Mira Bhayander.

The villagers have been opposing the project since the last two decades. One such attempt was opposed in 2008-09 when they petitioned then UPA president Sonia Gandhi.

Father Edward Jacito from Holy Magi Church in Gorai said, “We have our own way of life, our traditions. Our village is not urbanised at all. A four-lane road and bridge will not benefit us. Our mangroves will be cut and cars from Mumbai will come.”

“We want BMC to give us good water supply and health facilities. We don’t want high-rises and buildings in Gorai, Culvem, Manori and other villages,” he added. He further said that while BMC has not shown the villagers any plan of the bridge, a notice was put up last month seeking suggestions and objections. “We have raised our objections,” said Father Jacito.

Lisetha Kinny, a resident of Culvem, said, “We are asking for basic facilities for the villages. The bridge will kill our heritage… We are farmers and fishermen. We cultivate paddy and vegetables. The bridge will also destroy the mangroves as our two-lane road will be doubled. I don’t know how the forest department is not objecting to this.’’

Another resident, Rossi D’Souza, said, “We have a ferry service run by the villagers of Gorai connecting us to Borivali… We don’t need a bridge.”

Assistant Municipal Commissioner (R Central ward) Vaqar Javeed Hafiz said, “The bridge is being constructed by the MMRDA. We will inform it of the suggestions and objections received from the villagers. But I feel the villagers need better infrastructure, as the area witnesses traffic jam on weekends.’’

Since the residents have opposed the bridge, the MMRDA has also proposed a ropeway from Borivali. When contacted, MMRDA Commissioner S V R Srinivas said, “We will take everyone into confidence and all parties will be heard.”

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