Fancy a walk from Mumbai’s Juhu to Versova beach? It will be possible soon

Mumbai city news: At Juhu beach, but want to get away from the crowds? The Versova beach will soon be just a short walk away

mumbai Updated: Jul 12, 2017 09:24 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Juhu beach,Versova beach,Mumbai beaches
Barricades were put up to mark the areas that will be developed at Versova beach.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

At Juhu beach, but want to get away from the crowds? The Versova beach will soon be just a short walk away.

The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is planning a boardwalk to connect the 4km-long Juhu beach with the 2.5-km-long Versova beach, which are currently separated by a creek and mangroves.

The boardwalk, along with MMB’s Versova Beach Restoration Project that plans to create tourist facilities, shacks and a sports arena, is aimed at keeping the beach free from encroachments. The boardwalk will be built over the mangroves and creek. It was approved by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) last year. The restoration plan also includes building shacks for restaurants, enclosures for water sports and a sports arena (beach cricket, football fields and volleyball and kabaddi courts), according to Jitendra Raisinghani, deputy director, coordination, MMB.

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On Monday, MMB began building a fence to mark the 26 acres, towards the Sagar Kutir end of Versova beach, for the shacks. MMB had constructed fences on this patch three times in the past month, but locals from the fishing community have removed them every time, MMB officials said.

“The 26-acre area at Versova belongs to MMB and it is our first beach replenishment project in Mumbai. We have asked police to monitor the fenced area and ensure encroachers do not remove it again,” said Atul Patne, MMB CEO. MMB officials said the restoration will act as a model for other beaches along the state’s coastline under their Nirmal Sagar Tat Abhiyaan. Raisinghani said a technical plan for the Versova beach projects was being drawn up and that they could be ready by March 2018.

The boardwalk project, meanwhile, could be ready as early as the end of this year. Officials said the state government will fund the Rs28-crore project.

“It is in the final stages and work is expected to be completed by year-end,” Patne said. “Our idea is to connect the two beaches, making it the longest beach in Mumbai. Citizens can jog or walk the entire 6.5km length. We have asked the state mangrove cell for support so the boardwalk can be constructed without destroying mangroves,” said Patne. “Our aim is to increase tourism and replenish Mumbai’s beaches.”

Cleanup crusaders at Versova, led by lawyer Afroz Shah, said that while MMB had plans to restore Versova, the basic problem of keeping it cleaning was not done.

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 09:14 IST