The Vasai Jan Andolan Samiti staged a march at the Bandra Worli sea link on Tuesday to protest exclusion of 35 villages in the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC), leaving the traffic on this route in a tizzy.
The march led by Vasai MLA Vivek Pandit started from Vasai on Sunday and will reach chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s bungalow Varsha by Wednesday.
Though the police had taken ample measures to prevent disruption in traffic by placing barricades on the road leading to the sea link, angry protestors managed to cross it and gathered at the sea link in the evening, leading to traffic jams on this stretch. “I had never seen traffic jams on this stretch. Usually, my ride is smooth,” said Alex Pereira, a
Fifty-three villages and four nagarpalikas of the Vasai and Virar region were to be merged to form the VVMC. But 49 villages denied to be part of the municipality. On March 25, 2010, the government decided to exclude 35 villages from those 53 villages in the formation of the VVMC. “Although a declaration was made in March last year, no final notification has been issued yet. The notification should have been issued by July 6 last year,” said Pandit.
People do not want concretisation and wish to earn by agriculture and related activities. “We were never against the formation of the VVMC but why should this be forced on us as we know that being part of the civic body would mean urbanisation and disappearance of our farms and green habitat,” said Dominica Dabre, general secretary, Vasai Jan Andolan Samiti.
Pandit and members of the samiti met Chavan on April 11 and warned about taking a decision regarding their exclusion to the state government till April 17.
Since the state government failed to comply, villagers decided to carry out a protest march. “We asked the government many times and protested several times to issue the notification but received only assurances,” Pandit said.
“Our people have come all the way from Vasai in this heat, but the government is not bothered. So we decided not to take the long route and use the sea link instead,” said Dabre.