Bandra locals oppose sea link extension plan
Versova project Residents fear damage to roads, promenades at Bandstand and Carter Roadmumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2010 00:38 IST
Even as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) mulls over how to develop the extension of the Bandra Worli sea link up to Versova, residents of Bandra are already up in arms against any move to link Bandstand with the extension. Protesting any damage to Bandra’s two promenades at Bandstand and Carter Road due to the sea link extension, residents have launched a movement to dissuade authorities from doing so.
The MSRDC had earlier proposed that a bridge be built connecting the existing sea link to Bandra Bandstand. This, officials said, was being done to reduce the traffic bottleneck near Bandra Reclamation, as the bridge would be used by a major chunk of motorists. “However, we have now decided to integrate the bridge into the Bandra-Versova extension project,” said a senior MSRDC official.
Residents, however, are already protesting. “Building a bridge to Bandra Bandstand would mean completely destroying the roads and promenades at Bandstand and Carter Road. The authorities are implementing faulty designs without bothering to think twice of the human cost involved,” said environmentalist Darryl D’Monte, chairman of the Bandra West Residents Association (BWRA).
Arup Sarbadhikary, trustee of Bandra Bandstand Residents Trust (BBRT), said, “Once they do build a bridge-connecting Bandstand, the next step they’ll take is widen the existing road. Which would mean that the promenade would be the first casualty.”
PK Das, architect and chairperson of Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, is aghast at the suggestion. “We can’t have our waterfronts turn into roads. This way, we’ll lose the last bit of the city’s open spaces too.”
According to experts, such a project would be a death knell for pedestrians. “We are increasingly living in an era where authorities are wanting to appease only 4 per cent of the population, which uses cars. They ignore more than 50 per cent of the population, which walk or cycle,” added D’Monte.
Das seconded D’Monte’s views. “World over, cities are moving towards more pedestrian-friendly policies. However, we are doing the exact opposite,” said Das.
Meanwhile, the MSRDC has said that the route of the extension is yet to be finalised. “There are three routes that we are considering — a sea link, a coastal road and a part-coastal road. Hence, it’s too early for the residents to assume what the route,” said a senior MSRDC official. Despite repeated attempts, MSRDC Joint Managing Director Sonia Sethi remained unavailable for comment.