Development cannot happen without dialogue

Published: May 14, 2019, 05:54 IST | mid-day correspondent

More dialogue, transparency and honesty on both sides are the ways forward for development in the city. We are on the same page and let us look at this through that prism

Development cannot happen without dialogue

More trees are likely to fall to the already contentious Coastal Road. Activists have learnt that that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has tweaked its initial plans, making this necessary.

They say the number of trees likely to be affected in this project will go beyond the civic body's earlier claim of 500, and could now even touch 1,000, a front page report in this paper stated. Activists have pointed to an inquiry that has revealed more trees are to be cut. It is always important for the authorities to be transparent when it comes to such projects. State upfront the number of trees which would be affected before the project takes off and also let the public know about the scale of the ecological sacrifice the city will have to make for the development.

Then, state once again the way — and this is most important — through which one can mitigate the environmental impact. For instance, the Coastal Road authorities must be clear about what exactly they are going to do with the trees that are chopped. They claim they are going to be replanted but they ought to mark out the zones in which they are going to be replanted. Tell the people about the experts who will be deployed to do this exercise, so that the trees can survive the replanting. Spell out correctly who is going to be in charge of maintaining these trees.

Take the activists to the spot where the trees are going to be replanted, if need be. Every step needs to be taken to close the trust gap between the citizens and those who are executing the project. We do not want to be on a perpetual collision course, either in court or out of it. More dialogue, transparency and honesty on both sides are the ways forward for development in the city. We are on the same page and let us look at this through that prism.

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