After a study by New Jersey-based Climate Central warned that Mumbai is at risk of being submerged by 2050, residents have in an online campaign demanded the reassessment of all major infrastructure projects, including the coastal road being built along the city’s coast.
The group Save Our Coast, which is against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Coastal Road Project, and another NGO Let India Breathe have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to rethink the coastal road project in the backdrop of recent studies by the Inter-governmental Panel for Client Change (IPCC) and Climate Central.
Last week, a news report in the New York Times, based on Climate Central research, stated that climate change will put three times more people at risk of coastal flooding by 2050 than previously thought. Mumbai and other coastal cities which are on the list face the risk of being wiped out.
“We are seeing flooding happening in Mumbai, fires happening in the world. The IPCC report has come out and we are worried about what will happen in 2050. Where will we be? For coastal road, we have told them time and again that it will solve no traffic problem. It will cause flooding. Concretisation of Mithi River floodplains caused severe floods in the suburbs… To prevent such things, what are the Prime Minister and Chief Minister doing… The petition we have signed will be sent to Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, the CM and the PM to reassess coastal road and all other projects planned along the coast, “said Zia Sud from Save Our Coast.
She added, “By having the coastal road, pollution will only increase since more cars will ply.”
The IPCC had in September said that extreme events such as storm surges are likely to occur once a year rather than once a century because of accelerated global warming.
Along with the coastal road, the letter also demands a rethink of Navi Mumbai Airport and Shivaji Maharaj Statue in the Arabian sea.
Yash Marwah of Let India Breathe suggested projects with a long-term vision. “These projects will have a long-term effect on the city. Not only the NASA survey, but other reports have also said that Mumbai and other coastal cities will face floods in future. There was another survey that mentioned that hundreds of crores of public money was lost between 2005 to 2015 in Mumbai due to floods. In such a situation, any project should come with a futuristic approach,” said Marwah.
The BMC’s 9.98-km coastal road from Princess Street to Worli end of Bandra-Worli Sealink is facing resistance from fishermen and residents. Currently, work on the Rs 15,000-crore coastal road project has been stopped after the Bombay High Court cancelled environment clearance for the project. The BMC has approached the Supreme Court against the stay order.
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