The members of the fishing community in Mumbai have called for a mass gathering at Azad Maidan on August 25 to protest the demolition of Dadar fish market and the ongoing coastal road project.
According to members of the Vanchit Macchimar Sahakari Sangathana, an apex group of fishermen, nearly 2,500 families are being affected due to the ongoing coastal road project.
Sanjay Baikar, spokesperson of the community said that due to the reclamation works that have taken place in the last one year, the entire marine ecology has been adversely affected, which has led to the loss of catch from the shallow waters.
“Initially we were told that reclamation was done so that the trucks and heavy vehicles can pass through during the construction works. We were also told the road will be constructed on pillars and only five per cent of the overall sea will be reclaimed,” Baikar said, adding that they realised they were being cheated only after the reclamation works began in full force. “The majority of the seashore was being reclaimed,” he said.
Baikar added that due to the reclamation work, fish and aqua species have moved away from the shallow waters. He also said that the fishermen don’t have well-equipped boats that would sail in deep waters.
“In the past year, most of our boats and fishing equipment got destroyed as we don’t have any place to park our boats. Cyclone Tauktae too battered our boats severely,” he said.
Earlier this week, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had razed the fish market at Dadar, following which a video went viral on social media of a BMC worker putting fish containers in a truck. The Akhil Maharashtra Macchimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS) has called for the protest. According to Devendra Tandel, spokesperson of AMMKS, the market has been razed illegally. He also said that fishermen from Palghar, Uran and Vasai will also join the protest.
“Fishermen should be given spots at Crawford Market and losses suffered by them in the last one year should also be compensated,” said Tandel.
Meanwhile, BMC officials said the fishermen who were evicted from Dadar had already been allotted shops at the fish market in Airoli.