Close to a month after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked citizens to send in their suggestions and objections to its coastal road plan, only 65 responses have come in.
With the July 27 deadline to submit suggestions looming, the BMC said the few objections mean they can go ahead with their plan. Citizen activists, however, said the poor response is perhaps because the detailed plan uploaded on the BMC’s website is too complex.
Citizens’ groups have been holding meetings across the city to create awareness about the project.
The BMC is also mulling extending the deadline to get more suggestions, but is not likely to alter the project plan much. “From the million people in the city, only 65 objections have come in. This means few people are objecting,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner (projects). “We will review every point made,” he added.
Civic officials said the date for sending in suggestions could be extended. “We don’t find any harm in extending the deadline. A decision on this will be taken in a few days,” sources said.
Meanwhile, citizens’ groups in Bandra and Malwani have been holding meetings with residents. The groups have opposed the plan, saying its environmental impact will be huge. They said the road will increase congestion at interchanging points and disturb coastal communities and marine life.
One of the recent meetings at Malwani was conducted by the Watchdog Foundation. Its trustee Godfrey Pimenta said, “We want the BMC to take a serious note of every point raised in the objection letters citizens send. The number of objection letters does not quantify the seriousness of the issue and impact of the project. Every consequence of the project mentioned must be taken seriously.”
Activists also said citizens cannot be blamed for the poor response.
“The detailed report released by the BMC is very difficult to understand. We have been spending days and nights in the past month to understand the report and raise important points. Many active resident associations and transport experts are studying the plan in depth, to point out how it will affect the city,” said Ashok Datar, a traffic analyst.