No development at the cost of citizens: Bombay HC on Coastal Road project

Observing that development should not come at the cost of the citizens, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Maharashtra government and other authorities overseeing work of the proposed coastal road project

No development at the cost of citizens: Bombay HC on Coastal Road project

The High Court slammed the authorities for beginning construction of the coastal road project without ascertaining its adverse impact on fishing communities and also on fish breeding grounds. A division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Jamdar expressed its displeasure over the lack of coordination between authorities involved in the project.

CJ Patil said that this lack of coordination is a very sorry state of affairs and further asked them why can’t the authorities all coordinate without the intervention of the court. The strong observations were made after noting submissions made by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which claimed to have the necessary data on the number of people being affected and also the breeding ground for fish along the coastal road. 

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Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for BMC, informed the bench that the civic body had conducted a survey in Worli to identify people and also those whose livelihoods would be adversely affected by the project. He further informed the bench that the state Fisheries Department is yet to conduct such a survey along the entire stretch of around 19 kilometres of the coastal road.

On the contrary, the state fisheries department and Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change informed the bench that they are yet to obtain data as done by BMC. The Fisheries Department further told the bench it required help from expert agencies, funded by the union government.

Irked by the submissions, the bench said that the authorities should have conducted such a survey before beginning work on the project. They fail to understand how work began without such a survey. The bench accordingly adjourned the matter for further hearing after two weeks. 

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