Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project: Not compensated yet, complain Sewri fisherfolk

Mumbai: Several fishermen from Sewri, affected due to the upcoming 22 km sea bridge, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project, are complaining of not receiving any compensation. Sachin Padwal, Shiv Sena corporator said the fishermen from Sewri are not a registered association hence they have not received their share of compensation. There are around 70 to 80 fishermen in Sewri whose livelihood are being affected due the MTHL project.

A meeting was also held by Sena Member of Parliament, Rahul Shewale, with the Metropolitan Commissioner, wherein a demand was made to conduct survey of the remaining fishermen. Padwal said, “Since the Trombay fishermen has ‘Turbe Machimar Sahkari Soceity’ a registered association, the process was swift. Whereas, the Sewri fisherfolk have no such registered association or union.

Hence, as a solution, they have been suggested to be part of Trombay association. But this should not be the criteria while distributing the money. Sewri fishermen are worried, they have lost their livelihood due to this project.”

The Metropolitan Additional Commissioner Sanjay Khandare, said, “Those fishermen who have complained of not receiving compensation, their eligibility will be examined. Soon an expert private agency will be hired to conduct another fresh survey to check whether any fisherman’s name is missed out from the list.”

The MMRDA, nodal agency, responsible for the MTHL project carried out a survey through a private agency earlier and had submitted the list to the state fisheries department for distribution of compensation money. Every affected fisherman’s family has been promised Rs 6.5 lakh. The money will be distributed in three phases — in the first phase they will be given 7 per cent, and in the later two stages a sum of 20 per cent each.

“The compensation is directly credited into their bank accounts. There is no chance of any fraud,” said Khandare.
As per Vasant Chandrakant Koli, chairman of the Mahul fishermen’s association, out of 829 fishermen from Trombay, 772 have been compensated so far.

Similarly out of 450 fishermen from Mahul and Ambepada, 268 have been given the money. “Those are found eligible they received Rs 1.90 lakh as first installment and others are in the process. Furthermore, those fishermen who had taken loans from the National Cooperative Development Corporation to purchase boats some twenty-thirty years ago, and did not repay the loan money have not been compensated.

Although we requested the fisheries commissioner, he is reluctant to release those fishermen’s money. There are around 11 such fishermen from Mahul and 13 from Trombay,” Koli said. The 22-km-long MTHL corridor includes about 16.5 km of a creek bridge with 5.5 km viaducts on land, on either side of the link. As per plans, the sea bridge will have interchanges at Sewri in Mumbai and at Chirle on NH-4B on the Navi Mumbai side.

The estimated project cost is pegged at Rs 22,000 crore. Although the project was proposed way back in 1980, but did not take off due to various reasons including for want of the environmental clearance. The sea bridge is believed to decongest Mumbai and bring development over here.

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