Concerned with the flooding in south Mumbai amidst the onslaught of cyclone Tauktae, residents and green activists have written to the state government, blaming the ongoing Coastal Road Project (CRP) for the catastrophe. On Monday, after the cyclone passed through the city, the promenade at Marine Drive, Girgaum, Haji Ali and Worli was inundated for several hours. BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reclaimed approximately 100 hectares of the sea for the project.
On Tuesday, members of NGO Vanashakti shot a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and state Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, seeking a scientific probe into the CRP. “The effects of the reclamation need to be thoroughly studied. Corrective action needs to be taken. This monsoon, we could see unprecedented flooding in south Mumbai and Thane creek,” said Vanashakti in its letter.
“I had warned the authorities about carrying out unplanned reclamation. They have reclaimed 110 hectares of land. Now, where will the large volume of water go? Mumbai has a flat shoreline. The water that is getting pushed away is flowing back into the city from weaker sections and flooding in specific areas,” said Stalin Dayanand, director of Vanashakti. “This is just the beginning. If appropriate action is not taken, then Mumbai will flood every year. The impact will be severe each year,” he warned.
Environmentalists and green warriors also expressed their discontent towards the civic body for not protecting the trees of the city. Over 2,364 trees were uprooted in the city on Monday. Environmentalists blamed BMC engineers for concretising the base of the tree. “All the roadside trees are standing in a flower pot-like condition. The base of the trees are concretised. BMC workers remove the soil and fill them with gravel, which eventually weakens the base,” said Stalin.
Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said BMC has a dedicated department, but the trees aren’t trimmed regularly due to which they become heavy and fall. “Many officers don’t have adequate gears required to maintain the trees. We cannot blame the department because they are doing their best. The higher authorities are to be blamed,” said Bhathena.