HC seeks BMC reply on coastal road project

The Bombay High Court Tuesday directed the BMC to respond to an experts’ body report stating that it had not conducted adequate surveys to study the impact of the proposed coastal road project on the fisherfolk in the city and on the marine life along the coast.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file its reply by April 23 this year.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by two city-based fisherfolk associations – the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa and the Worli Machimmar Sarvodaya Sahakari Society — raising grievances against the coastal road project that proposes to connect the Marine Drive area in the southern tip of the city to the northern suburb of Kandivali.

The petitioners claimed the BMC and state authorities had not conducted any public hearing or consultations with the fisherfolk from the city before starting work on the proposed project.

In their plea, they said the road once constructed, will take away their livelihood.

Their counsel, advocate Gayatri Singh, submitted Tuesday a report of the Mumbai centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute stating that the “two-day rapid survey” that the BMC claims to have conducted before starting work on the project, was “not enough”.

“Two days (of) rapid survey cannot give a detailed account of any fishing activity or the impact on such activity and on fishery resources…” the report stated.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhre contested the claim, saying the reclamation and construction work for the project would not have any adverse effects on the fisherfolk in the city and their source of livelihood.

The bench, however, said the BMC must go through the above report and file its detailed reply.