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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Fishermen opposed to waterway project

Vaishnavi Vasudevan, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 05, 2012
First Published: 02:23 IST(5/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:24 IST(5/12/2012)

The fishermen community have expressed concern about MSRDC’s water transport project in Mumbai, saying they were worried about the effect it would have on their business.

The project, which has been languishing for 13 years, has been revived, drawing flak from fishermen. The community has warned of a huge protest in the sea if the work begins without discussing and consulting leaders of the community.

The project will connect Nariman Point to Borivli via the sea route. As part of the project, terminals will be set up at six locations — Nariman Point, Bandra, Juhu, Versova, Marve and Borivli, of which terminals at Nariman Point and Borivli will be spread over 40,000 and 32,000 sq ft respectively.

“The route for catamarans and hovercrafts will be via our fishing areas. The speed at which they travel, they will cut our nets and disrupt our fishing business. We are also told that fishermen will have to pay to fish in that stretch. It is unfair to encroach on our area and later threaten us into paying to use our own space,” said Damodar Tandel, president, Maharashtra Fishermen Action Committee.

The community has also raised questions about pollution in the sea as hovercrafts make a loud noise and affect marine life. “After fishing for 8 hours and spending Rs. 500 on diesel, we find three fish. If these huge boats are used daily, the fish will disappear in a few months,” Tandel said.

Though the government has assured compensation for losses incurred, Tandel said no promises have been kept so far by the government. “We were told that compensation would be given for disturbing our business during the construction of the Bandra-Worli sea link. Till date, we have not received a rupee.”

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