After facing protests from residents and environmentalists over the construction of a 1.2-km compound wall at Versova beach and placing tetrapods there, the elected public representatives have appealed to the state government, urging them to look into the issue.
The construction was nearing completion when state minister of environment and guardian minister of Mumbai (suburbs), Aaditya Thackeray, ordered a temporary stay. In one of the letters, MLA Bharati Lavekar has written to Aaditya requested his intervention. She also said that the work was sanctioned by her office.
“The level of the sea water rises by a significant margin every monsoon. Due to this, water enters the premises of buildings and slum in the area. This also causes damage to properties and poses as a risk to the lives of people. So, I had floated the proposal of constructing a wall to then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” Lavekar stated.
She also said that the project was being partially funded by the Union ministry.
“We understand that you (Aaditya) have put a stay order on the work after objections from residents. So I request that a meeting be held soon,” she added.
Meanwhile, MP from North-west constituency Gajanan Kirtikar has written to the Mumbai maritime board, public works department (PWD) and Mumbai coastal zonal management authority (MCZMA), requesting them to conduct a site visit on August 25. “While some residents have complained that water enters their buildings, causing severe damage, another group of locals have said that the beach has became unusable for them due to the tetrapods. Following which, a temporary stay has been ordered,” Kirtikar said.
“I have called for a site visit next week. The final decision will be taken only after this,” said Kirtikar.
Meanwhile, activist Zoru Bhathena who has been actively protesting the construction works said that they have an alternate plan ready to protect the buildings from the sea water.
“If the existing compound walls are reconstructed by making a curve on top then the overflowing water will automatically flow back to the sea. This model of construction is being followed everywhere in the world,” Bhathena said.
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