Citizens group claims coastal road work threatening safety of staffUpdated: Apr 27, 2020 23:13 IST
Alleging that construction being undertaken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as pre-monsoon work for the coastal road project was a violation of lockdown rules, a citizens group has filed a complaint with the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
The letter by Save Our Coast, Mumbai, with members from Nepeansea Road, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Haji Ali, and Worli, was sent to the secretary, MHA on April 23 and made public on Monday. The complaint states that work being carried out was ‘non-essential’ and workers were forced to operate without masks and recommended social distance.
BMC maintained that if work was not completed before monsoon, it would lead to flooding. The civic body also claimed that all project workers had tested negative for the coronavirus.
Activities in the form of land reclamation, tunneling using explosives, pile driving, and construction of new structures were a violation of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the letter. “Photographs show workers are not wearing protective equipment and not maintaining distancing norms. Entry and exit points of the [workers’] buses are in populated residential areas already within Covid-19 containment zones.”
Vijay Nighot, chief engineer, BMC’s coastal road project, said, “Placing of armour (quarry) stones and reclamation is ‘essential work’ before monsoon when rough seas will flood the entire south Mumbai coastline. Five hundred workers have tested negative for the virus and have been provided protective gear. Prescribed distancing is followed with only one person per seat on the buses.”
The latest complaint to the Centre comes after a legal notice was sent to the BMC by Save Our Coast on April 8 and a police complaint was filed on April 7. “Our legal team has responded to the group’s notice,” said Nighot.
“Unfortunately, the agency supposed to enforce the lockdown is itself breaking it,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka.