For greater than five years, Mumbai’s controversial coastal avenue challenge has confronted stiff competition from environmentalists, urban planners, delivery professionals, and neighborhood fishing communities that could be displaced utilizing the mission. Their protests did not forestall the Union government from granting, in May 2017, environmental clearance for the multi-crore task that entails reclaiming huge portions of the ocean to construct a 29.2 km avenue along Mumbai’s western shoreline.
Now that production work for the ten-km south phase of the coastal road has started, a brand new group of protesters has joined the refrain in opposition to the challenge: regular residents from the equal car-proudly owning demographic that the coastal avenue is being constructed for. In early February, numerous Breach Candy and Worli – south Mumbai localities – formed informal collectives in their neighborhoods to raise public awareness about the risks of the coastal road.
Each collective has greater than two hundred individuals of their WhatsApp groups, including a few residents from different elements of Mumbai, and they have mutually organized at the least two public meetings with specialists and stakeholders to raise questions about the task. In a web petition they started in February, the agencies have demanded that nation and civic authorities forestall all construction work at the coastal road till citizens are given whole data approximately its purpose and effect on the environment, vehicular visitors, public shipping, and pedestrian motion. The agencies also held a protest march on March 10 to attract attention to the difficulty. “The coastal road isn’t always in the public interest,” stated Radhika Sabavala, the top of a non-income publishing residence and a member of the Worli citizens’ collective.
“It is a severe intervention inside the city with large repercussions. No critical visitors disbursal research had been carried out yet, the modern-day environmental effect record has no longer yet been made public, and the road could have a detrimental effect on the livelihood of the fishing groups and the delicate coastal ecology.” For maximum members of the residents’ collectives, the catalyst for coming collectively in protest changed into the alarming speed of reclamation that commenced off the coast of Breach Candy within the beginning of January. “The work has been taking place non-forestall, all day and night, with trucks coming to sell off debris into the ocean at a horrifying pace,” stated Mamta Dalal Mangaldas, a author and member of the Breach Candy group, which calls itself Citizens for Responsible Development. “We are soliciting for is to stop this painting till citizens have given right solutions approximately the many inconsistencies in the undertaking.”
Rs 1,2 hundred crores in line with kilometer The coastal road challenge has been deliberate in two major sections – south and north. The cost only for the 10-km south section is set to be Rs 12,seven-hundred crore – more than Rs 1,2 hundred crores in line with kilometer – making it one of the maximum high-priced public infrastructure tasks inside the country. (The challenge’s typical value is doubtful because its information has now not been made public).
The coastal street was first proposed in 2012. It became an election promise through the Bharatiya Janata Party, which got here to electricity in Maharashtra in 2014 with assistance from the Shiv Sena. The assignment, in step with the state government, will decongest Mumbai’s roads by providing an opportunity to the Western Express Highway, an arterial avenue that stretches from Bandra in suburban Mumbai to Dahisar, 25 km to the north. The assignment’s south segment will run from the southern commercial enterprise district of Nariman Point to Worli and be built via the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
The north phase, extending from the prevailing Bandra-Worli sea link to the northern suburb of Kandivali, could be constructed with the aid of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. Reclamation for the coastal road will generate 90 hectares of the latest land, which the government claims can be used for inexperienced spaces and public facilities. However, distinctive drawings and plans for this reclamation are but to be released to the public. Since the road might be toll-free, the economic burden of preserving the coastal road will fall on Mumbai’s taxpayers. However, the road will cater to barely 1.25% of Mumbai’s populace – folks that personal motors and travel alongside the metropolis’s western coast.
Mangaldas, Sabavala, and different citizens’ collectives belong to that 1.25%, which makes their protests in opposition to the coastal road even more considerable. The residents’ companies have raised three essential questions about the coastal avenue: whether or not the road is needed at all, whether it’s going to really decongest Mumbai, and whether the huge construction fee, which will utilize public cash, is justified.
The danger of flooding One of the largest problems with the coastal avenue is the ecological threat it’ll pose to the metropolis. Up till 2011, Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines allowed roads on coastlines best inside the shape of bridges on stilts, so the float of tidal waters could now not be affected. However, a 2011 Coastal Regulation Zone notification allowed reclamation-primarily based roads in “super instances.” The Maharashtra government has now not yet publicly defined why the coastal street might be counted as a first-rate case. However, it has been given primary environmental clearance to reclaim 90 hectares of land from the ocean. This reclamation will push the boundary of the current coastline via a minimum of 100 meters in the direction of the ocean, which could result in trade-in tidal styles, erosion of beaches, and a blockage of the city’s natural drainage systems alongside the whole western coast. This could place Mumbai at a great danger of flooding.
“The Maharashtra government has claimed that the coastal road is not possible to have any effect on tidal patterns within the north and south of the metropolis,” stated Cyrus Guzder, an urban activist and a trustee of the non-profit Bombay Environmental Action Group. “But we now recognize that even small scale reclamation for the Bandra-Worli sea link has already brought on the erosion of Dadar seaside. So the government has no proper to go ahead with the coastal road without understanding the environmental effect.” Since publishing an Environmental Impact Assessment for the task in 2016, Mumbai’s municipal corporation has altered the alignments of portions of the coastal road. “But this final alignment has no longer but been made to be had to the general public, and a sparkling environmental effect assessment has not but been carried out,” stated Mangaldas.