Mumbai: A citizen’s forum, ‘A City for People’ Saturday arranged a public discussion on demanding responsible, sustainable and inclusive public infrastructure in south Mumbai. The citizen-activists raised their voice against cumulative ecological loss due to various infrastructure projects in Mumbai.
The “Save Our Coast” group also participated and discussed the side-effects of reclamation on marine life, especially for the coastal road project where 95 hectares of land is going to be reclaimed. Stalin Dayanand from NGO Vanashakti said, “The actual reclamation need for the coastal road is 20 hectares, however 90 hectares was announced, which is nothing but to favour the developers. Additionally, in recent documents, the BMC has mentioned that 95 hectares’ land will be reclaimed. This will badly affect marine life and the coral of the Mumbai sea which the BMC does not accept.”
The forum raised the issue that the citizens and government needed to look holistically at the air we breathe, tree felling, reclamation for development, and climate change. The activists said that environmental clearances for the coastal road had been given on ambiguous grounds. The high court recently observed that the BMC’s ambitious coastal road did not have all the required clearances and stopped further construction work till they were obtained. “The government has always avoided facts,” said Mr Dayanand, referring to the proposed metro car shed at Aarey.
“The environmentalists had suggested Kanjurmarg as an alternate site for the metro 3 car shed but they rejected it saying the land was marshy. However, the same land was allotted for the metro 6 car shed,” he said.