Fishermen from Worli Koliwada have alleged that they were stopped from taking up fishing activities near the coastal road construction site by police. The fishing community in the area has been opposing the civic body’s project demanding that gaps between pillars for the proposed coastal road be increased.
The proposed gap between two pillars is 200 feet and the fishermen have demanded the gap be increased to 200 metres.
On Wednesday, members of the fishing community alleged that around 11.30 am some police personnel from Worli Police Station reached Worli Jetty and threatened that if they went out fishing near the coastal road construction site, they would face action and could be arrested. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started reclamation and construction of the coastal road around Worli Dairy and Priyadarshani Park, the fishermen have prevented officials from conducting a geo-technical survey to mark the exact pier position for the project near Worli Koliwada at Worli Seaface.
Speaking to The Indian Express, President of Worli Koliwada Nakhawa Matsya Vyvsay Sahkari Society, Harishchandra Nakhawa, said: “For the past two days, police personnel are visiting our localities and threatening us saying not to go fishing and not allowing us to lay our nets near the coastal road construction site. They have abused some of our fishermen. If they do not allow us to lay our nets, it will affect our livelihood. Despite promises from political leaders and the civic administration, nobody is listening to us. Our demand is genuine and if the proposed gap between two pillars remains 200 feet, then there will always be a risk of boat accidents.”
He added: “We met senior police officers and the contractor and told them that we will allow the geo-technical survey only after the BMC listens to our demands. If the police continue threatening our people, then we will start agitation outside the police station.”
Senior Inspector Sukhlal Varpe of Worli police station refuted the allegation. “We never abused or threatened fishermen. Instead, we asked them to resolve the issue with the officials involved in the coastal project.”
In November, the BMC had started work on 9.97-km first phase of the proposed coastal road project, from Princess Street to Worli Seaface at Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sealink. The civic body will spend over Rs 12,000 crore on the project.
Fishermen have also demanded that reclamation at Priyadarshani Park and Worli Dairy side be stopped. The reclamation near Priyadarshani Park will destroy breeding spots of fish that will affect the livelihood of the people, a member of the Koli community said.
(Inputs from Sagar Rajput)