Mumbai: After several years of dispute, the fisherfolk community of Worli's Cleveland Bunder and BMC have finally reached a common ground. The civic body has finally agreed to increase the width of a proposed navigation span which is part of the futuristic Coastal Road project.
At the Worli end of the Coastal Road, the BMC is constructing a traffic interchange which will connect the upcoming infra with the Bandra Worli Sea Link. The proposed interchange is going to be an elevated structure that would come up on pillars which are constructed in the shallow waters of the sea at Worli.
The project engineers had earlier stated that the gap between each pillar would be around 60 m. However, the local fisherfolk community had opposed the gap between two pillars at Cleveland Bunder in Worli. According to them, the span of 60 m will not be enough for them since it will be difficult for the fishermen to safely navigate their boats through such a short span. They reasoned that the Bunder has shallow water with rocks spread all around hence there is a possibility of their boats getting damaged.
The members of the community demanded that the width of the span should be increased to 200 m, to which the BMC didn’t agree, following which protests erupted and construction works were stalled for several months.
After the Shinde-Fadnavis government came to power, a new technical committee was formed. The members of the committee included fisherfolk representatives, BMC engineers, experts from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and coast guards as well. Senior officials associated with the Coastal Road project stated that after multiple assessments and technical visits, the decision to increase the gap was taken.
In a letter sent to the fisherfolk community on Dec 12, the BMC has said that the request for a navigation span of 120 m between two piers 7 and 8 has been accepted. “Based on the inputs of the committee, we will remove one pillar between piers 7 and 9 so that we are able to get additional space of 60 m, that will help us in creating a 120-m-wide navigational span,” said project chief engineer Mantayya Swami. The 120 m gap will be between two pillars only, while the remaining pillars will be 60 m apart.
There are approximately 11 pillars in the zone where the proposed interchange is going to come up beyond pillar number 5, now with one pillar less, the total number of pillars is likely to become 10 in the said portion.
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