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Mumbai's coastal road project causes loss of livelihood for the fisherfolk

Several reports have stated that the project has started having a negative impact on the livelihoods of the fishermen, with their incomes being hit.

Mumbai's coastal road project causes loss of livelihood for the fisherfolk
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Amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the subsequent lockdown, with the spike in COVID-19 cases, the Coastal Road Project in Mumbai has been continual at a swift pace.

Moreover, at least 217 acres of land has so far been reclaimed from the Arabian Sea for the project, with an additional 50-odd acre yet to be created. According to officials, about 30 per cent of the work has been completed. The ‘Mavala’ underground tunnel boring machine (TBM) also continues to excavate earth from under Malabar Hill, at a pace of 7 metres (m) every day. Currently, about 330m of tunnelling has been finished presently.

However, even though the project is two years away from getting finished, several reports have stated that the project has started having a negative impact on the livelihoods of the fishermen, with their incomes being hit.

For decades these fishermen have been conducting their trade along the rocky shore between Nepean Sea Road and Worli which has become difficult now. In addition, due to the absence of compensation, and further continuation of the reclamation work during the lockdown, the fishermen have been left with no option but to recoup their losses.

On the other hand, Mumbai’s ambitious Coastal Road Project had earlier received a boost in the form of approval from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for a new amendment in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance that would allow further reclamation in the sea. The EAC has since sent over the proposal to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for its final nod along with some conditions.

The minutes from the EAC meeting reveal that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been asked to keep an eye on the growth of marine life and intertidal habitats while also exploring the idea of artificial reefs with the Mangrove Foundation so as to promote marine diversity in the region.

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