'Divine intervention' in freeway project

30 November,2010 06:35 AM IST |   |  Parth Satam

Temple at Sewri stalls work on a section of Eastern Freeway project; devotees protest its relocation

Temple at Sewri stalls work on a section of Eastern Freeway project; devotees protest its relocation

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) seems to be inviting the wrath of the gods in most of its infrastructure projects.

MMRDA needs to bring down this temple in order to carry on with the construction

After the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle Monorail project ran into trouble with religious structures (see box), another infrastructure project is now up against a major obstacle.

The construction of an important section of the 22-km Eastern Freeway project (EFP) from South Mumbai to Ghatkopar (via P D*Mello Road) is stalled as a temple is blocking its way.

Built on January 25, 1990, the Shri Swayambhu Icchapuri Ganesh Mandir near Sewri is coming in the way of Section 2 of the project that will connect Carnac Bunder to Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) Pipeline Gate (8.92 km).
This part has two sub-sections, namely Carnac Bunder to Wadi Bunder (1.8km), and Wadi Bunder to MbPT Pipeline Gate (7.1km). The temple is obstructing the second sub-section.

*Won*t budge*

Ramachandra Gaikwad (56), owner of the temple, said that in 2009 the contractors, Simplex Infrastructure, had approached him requesting to relocate the temple to an alternate spot.

"They also said that the banyan tree behind the temple would have to be uprooted and relocated.

We protested sternly and asked them to consider the emotions of devotees who hold this temple close to their hearts," said Gaikwad.

The temple authorities said that they already have enough trouble on their hands. The structure does not have electricity supply and has been functioning with a generator for the past several years.

The project

The Rs 531-crore Eastern Freeway project, which will start from Prince of Wales museum and end at Ghatkopar, was envisaged to solve traffic bottlenecks on this stretch.

Once ready, it will also provide direct connectivity from MbPT to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminusu00a0 and ease transportation of goods between the two points.
The work on the EFP began in December 2008 and is due to be completed by July 2011.

The Other Side

MMRDA*s Joint Project Director (PR) Dilip Kawathkar said, "If the temple is affecting the alignment of the Eastern Freeway, we will relocate it to an alternate site nearby."
Kawathkar said that if the devotees protest, a meeting will be held with them and "efforts will be made to arrive at a solution amicably. "

Divine hurdles

The Hanuman temple at Powai on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road posed a hurdle its construction.

As reported by MiD DAY on October 16, a Vitthal Mandir was also coming in the way of construction of a monorail station near the structure.

Sewri stalls temple protest MMRDA devotees
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