MMRDA took the decision in the face of protests from locals, who say it would pose a threat to mangroves and to the livelihood of the fishermen community
MMRDA has put its proposal of constructing a cable-stayed bridge connecting Gorai and Manori on hold because of opposition from locals. Fishermen in the Manori-Uttan belt, known for its scenic beaches, have been opposing all infrastructural projects in the region citing the threat they pose to mangroves and to their livelihood. The MMRDA's plan was to construct a 200 m cable-stayed bridge over the Manori-Marve creek at a cost of Rs 30 crore to ease access to Gorai and Manori, both of which are popular weekend destinations.
Stalled: The cable-stayed bridge would have made commutes easier
for residents of Gorai, Manori, Bhayander and Mira Road because the
only way of reaching these places by road currently is to go via Kashimira
on the Western Express Highway. File Pic
Visitors to Manori currently have to reach Marve from Malad and then take a ferry to Manori from there. The bridge would have also made commutes easier for residents of Gorai, Manori, Bhayander and Mira Road because the only way of reaching these places by road currently is to go via Kashimira on the Western Express Highway.
Speaking to MiD DAY, MMRDA Chief Engineer SR Nandgirikar said, "The locals in the Manori and Uttan areas, including the fishing community, have been relentlessly protesting the construction of a cable-stayed bridge on the Manori-Marve creek. This has forced us to put the plan on hold."
A protest had erupted in 2009 as well, when the MMRDA had invited expressions of interest for the bridge's design and construction. Locals began complaining and former petroleum minister Ram Naik had led a delegation to the MMRDA's office opposing any infrastructure projects in the region.
"We are in talks with locals and their leaders to sort out the issue as soon as possible but we don't know how long it will take," added the chief engineer. Another MMRDA official said the authority is yet to apply for an environment ministry clearance for the project, which will delay it further.
"The construction of the bridge over the Marve-Manori Creek will affect the mangroves badly and have an adverse impact on fishing in the region," said Shoeb Naik from Manori Village. Hitendra Vesavkar, another villager, agreed with Naik. "Besides these problems, the MMRDA will also have to increase the width of the road leading up to the bridge. This will mean that the government will have to acquire land and poor farmers will lose their livelihood as well. Residents here are absolutely opposed to the bridge." Residents of the region had earlier opposed a proposed Special Economic Zone as well as a solid waste recycling plant. The plant's site was then shifted to Ghodbunder Road near Versova.
Besides promoting tourism in the Gorai-Manori-Uttan belt, the bridge would have made it easier for visitors to reach the Global Vipassana Pagoda in Gorai as well. Many Mumbaikars and tourists go there for the organisation's meditation programme.