Study to fish out coastal road impact in Mumbai
Eight months after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) began construction work for the coastal road project, the civic body is now planning to study the impact of the project on the city’s fishing community. At the standing committee meeting on Friday, the civic body will put up a proposal to appoint Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI) to study the impact of the coastal road project on the city’s marine life and fishing industry. While the route of the coastal road cannot be changed at this stage, the ICAR-CMFRI’s report will help figure out compensation and rehabilitation, said civic officials.
The ₹14,000-crore coastal road project is being built by the BMC. It will connect south Mumbai to the western suburbs via a road built along the city’s coastline. Divided into north and south sections, the south section will connect Marine Lines to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli sealink.
Construction work for the project is likely to affect fishing communities in Worli, Bandra, Juhu and Moragaon. Fisherfolk at Colaba, Worli and other areas have said the coastal road will negatively impact their livelihood by obstructing traditional fishing routes.
A proposal to appoint ICAR-CMFRI will be put up for approval at the upcoming standing committee meeting.
The cost of the research is approximately ₹41.42 lakh and an interim report will be presented within four months of the proposal being approved. The final report is expected in six months. According to the proposal, of which HT has a copy, ICAR-CMFRI will study the effects on fishing activities; identify areas that might be affected; the loss, if any, on the economies of fishing and on those dependent on fishermen; and the total number of active fishing vessels in the project areas.
Deputy municipal commissioner Rajeev Kuknoor, who is in-charge of the coastal road project, said, “This report will guide us in providing appropriate compensation to the affected fishing community. We also want to make sure there is no ambiguity with regard to the project. At this stage, it would not be possible to change the design, but the report will certainly help with compensation and rehabilitation.”
When asked why the civic body had not sought a report prior to beginning construction, Kuknoor said, “When we sought the NOC from the Commission of Fisheries, we were not guided properly that the CMFRI report is compulsory.”
Although the BMC had received a conditional no-objection certificate from the ministry of environment, forests and climate change on May 11, 2017, fisherfolk say they had insisted on a report from the ICAR-CMFRI before the project began.
Damodar Tandel, president of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), said, “We had insisted on this report from the beginning and it is a good thing that finally the new commissioner has agreed for a report from the institute. The reluctance to appoint this institute is understood because till now around 10 big projects have been cancelled due to reports from CMFRI.”
Tandel expressed doubts that the fishing community would receive any compensation.
“The fishing community has never received rehabilitation or compensation from the government for any projects along the coast. Even in case of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, the fishermen have not yet got their rightful compensation,” he said.