For the next one year, Mumbaikars will miss hanging around, at their favourite promenade at the Worli Sea Face as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has closed the existing promenade and have constructed a temporary concrete path alongside it.
In order to carry out construction works for the ambitious Coastal Road Project, the BMC had taken over the 85-year-old promenade back in 2019, with a promise to replace it with a swankier and larger sea side walkway.
BMC has now demolished almost half of the walkway facing the seaside and has erected barriers alongside it. Senior officials involved with the coastal road project have said that the entire promenade will be removed and new promenade will be created in the gap between the existing promenade and sea.
The existing promenade is around 2 km long and extends between Worli Dairy and Godrej Chowk. Civic officials said that the new promenade would be four kilometer long and 200 metres wide and a green patch will separate the sea face from the coastal road.
"The traffic intersection arms for the coastal road is being built at the point where the existing promenade is situated, which is why we have closed the existing promenade and have built a concrete path as a diversion for the convenience of daily morning and evening walkers," said a senior engineer of the civic body who is associated with the project.
At the promenade, the BMC has also set up a signboard stating that the new promenade would be ready by November 2022.
The official added that this is just a temporary arrangement and after the pillars for the proposed connector is in place, the new promenade will be built.
Meanwhile, local residents and environmentalists have expressed their displeasure against the demolition. The residents have expressed with the existing walkway being demolished, the up-town neighbourhood has lost its charm.
Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said that back in 2018 after construction works for the coastal road project began, local residents had resisted the civic body's plan of taking over the existing promenade, following which the BMC and local public representatives had assured that the existing walkway won't be affected.
"The administration is violating their own words, if the road is being built on the sea, then I don't understand the point of touching the existing walkway," Bhathena told FPJ.
"The new walkway is uneven and not very wide, this is causing sheer inconvenience to the local residents during walking," said local resident requesting anonymity.
"The promenade has been there for more than 50 years, I don’t find the point of removing it just like that, the administration is doing the same at Marine Drive as well," said another resident.
Sachin Ahir, deputy leader of Shiv Sena and former legislator from Worli, has been coordinating with the agencies on behalf of citizens. Ahir said the temporary arrangement had to be done as the ongoing needed to be started before monsoon as some major storm water drain outlets will be connected.
"It will take one more year for the pillars of the intersections to be in place and after that the new promenade will be built," said Ahir.