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Thane’s creek fronts set to be tourist zones

Parsik-Retibunder chowpatty likely to be ready by December; it will have a jogging track, promenades, amphitheatre, food kiosks and park

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2018 00:29 IST
Megha Pol
The waterfront at Retibunder in Mumbra where work is likely to be completed by December.
The waterfront at Retibunder in Mumbra where work is likely to be completed by December. (HT Photo)

In the next two years, the murky, silted, littered and polluted creek fronts in the city will be transformed into tourist-friendly landscapes.

Eight waterfronts will go through a makeover with promenades, jogging track, walkways, playgrounds, play area, cycle tracks, open gyms, food courts and seating arrangements.

A total of 10.58 km and an area of 7,22,000 square metres will be developed under the waterfront development project of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The TMC will fund the entire project cost of ₹260.3 crore.

By December, the TMC aims to open the Parsik-Retibunder Chowpatty for the public.

A TMC official said, “The work on Parsik Chowpatty began in October last year. We have completed 25% of the work which includes levelling of the plot, construction of an immersion ghat and a compound wall. The first phase of the Gaimukh Chowpatty has also been completed.”

Thane has 32km of coastline from Diva to Gaimukh but over the years it has been neglected, leading to encroachment and water pollution.

The municipal corporation proposed the waterfront development project in 2010, which finally took shape in 2017.

The makeover of Parsik-Retibunder, Kolshet, Kavesar-Waghbil, Kalwa- Shastrinagar, Saket-Balkum, Naglabunder and Kopri will be carried out through Smart City Limited. Gaimukh revamp will be executed by the Maharashtra Maritime Board.

The waterfront project began in Thane with the commissioner’s plan to transform the Parsik-Retibunder creek into a Chowpatty on a par with the Marina Bay at Singapore or the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad.

A 150-m stretch has already been prepared for recreational purpose. “Of the total 480m, an area of 330 m will be completed in the next one year. The work on the other waterfronts began in March,” he said.

TMC commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal had claimed that Thane is the first city in Maharashtra to begin waterfront development.

The TMC-appointed Ney-Poullissen Engineers and Architects, a Belgium-based consultancy firm, carried out a study for the project and the area along the waterfronts. The firm also prepared a master plan for the project.

“The civic commissioner has asked to complete the work on the Parsik chowpatty by December this year while the rest will be completed by next year. The project aims at conservation, protection and beautification of the polluted and neglected creek which is mostly under the threat of encroachment,” he added.

The corporation has said there would be no loss of mangroves in the project. Mangroves cut for the project will be replanted. The TMC said the construction activity will adhere to Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms.

The corporation said that around 310 people were displaced from Retibunder for the waterfront development.

Activist highlights mangrove destruction

The smart city project of the TMC has two components — creek front and lakefront development. Masunda, Hariyali and Gandhinagar lakefronts will be developed.

Urban planner from Thane Mayuresh Bhadsavle said, “The Saket to Balkum creek stretch witnessed a lot of illegal sand mining, which stalled the waterfront development. All waterfronts along the water transport route will be developed.”

Bhadsavle raised concern on mangrove destruction and flooding. “The municipal corporation will have to cut mangroves to build access roads. The corporation has not come out with a solution to save mangroves,” he said.

The project might also lead to flooding in the housing complexes near the creek. “The coast is at a lower level than the housing societies. The corporation is levelling this for waterfront development. There will be flooding if mangroves are destroyed. Thane is surrounded by Sanjay Gandhi National Park on one side, from where streams of water flow into the city. This will flood Ghodbunder, Saket and Kalwa areas.”