Tanvi Deshpande, Mumbai Mirror, August 3 2017

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Fishermen threaten protest against ‘Central Park’ plan
NET LOSS: Fishing community says its livelihood will be hit if land is reclaimed for the proposed 300-acre park
Deputy mayor shares their concerns with BMC chief in a letter.

A proposal to create a large green space by reclaiming bay area at Cuffe Parade is being opposed by the fishing community, which says the plan will affect the livelihood of 25,000 families.

Deputy mayor Hemangi Worlikar supports the fishermen’s position and has shared her concerns in a letter to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

The BMC had last year suggested building a 300-acre ‘Central Park’ on the lines of the popular namesake in New York City. The plan involves reclaiming area from the sea, from NCPA to Geeta Nagar, and provisions for it were made in the city’s new Development Plan that was cleared by the civic body’s general assembly recently.

Fishermen say they operate 250 to 300 boats in the area identified for the project. “Our families have been working here for generations, but nobody from the BMC or MMRDA personally informed us, forget asking for objections. We found out about it [the project] through newspapers,” said Krishnakumar Meher, chairman of Machhimar Sarvoday Sahakari Society, which is based in Colaba.

He added: “First it was the coastal road, then the Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea. Fishermen are never taken into account. We will protest against the park project.”

The BMC intends to use 5 million cubic metres of soil excavated as part of the Metro III construction to build the park. It has started the process to conduct a survey.

Fishermen’s groups took their complaint to Worlikar last month, following which she wrote to Mehta. Worlikar and Mehta were unavailable for comment.

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