Mumbai: Vehicles lose 'parking lots' to Metro, kill mangroves

Published: May 23, 2019, 09:23 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Activists put the spotlight on Dharavi T-junction, where Metro work has pushed illegally parked vehicles into the Mahim creek

Mumbai: Vehicles lose 'parking lots' to Metro, kill mangroves
Google earth images of 2015 and 2019 that show the mangrove encroachment at Dharavi's T-junction

The Mumbai Metro is at it again, although not so directly this time. The Metro Line III construction that is eating into a considerable amount of road space on the Bandra-Sion Link Road has led to encroachment of the mangroves lining the road. Miscreants have dumped debris and created parking space here.

The thick mangrove cover around the Dharavi T-junction on the Bandra-Sion Link Road has almost disappeared with auto-rickshaw drivers claiming the space for parking.

Private vehicles and autos are parked here since the Metro work began. PIC/ASHISH RAJE
Private vehicles and autos are parked here since the Metro work began. PIC/ASHISH RAJE

Known for its heavy traffic jams, especially during peak hours, motorists have now noticed the new space around the T-junction on the Bandra-Sion Link Road. The debris have replaced the mangroves and the short wall which separated the road from the nullah (later merging into Mithi river) next to it has been levelled. Around 15 private vehicles and some auto rickshaws were parked here when mid-day visited the spot, dangerously close to the water body, hardly weeks before the arrival of infamous Mumbai monsoon.

Before beginning work here, the Metro authorities had put up a board stating so. One of the auto-rickshaw drivers, who was present at the spot, said, "We used to park our vehicles across the road earlier but now with the Metro construction, we are left with no space to park. We thus entered this space and created our parking space."

Auto drivers claim they do not know who dumped the debris here to create the parking space at Dharavi’s T-junction. PIC/Ashish Raje
Auto drivers claim they do not know who dumped the debris here to create the parking space at Dharavi’s T-junction. PIC/Ashish Raje

He said that the Metro has played no role in creating this parking space, the auto-rickshaw drivers had done it themselves, but it not know who had dumped debris here.

With the city struggling with creating parking spaces, illegal parking spaces have been on the rise. The mid-day had also done a series on illegal parking on roads around schools making these places a traffic nightmare. While buses and private transport vehicles were parked on this road earlier too, the sudden disappearance of mangroves and alleged debris dumped near the water body has worried environmentalists.

Officials unfazed

"These are clear violations of the High Court orders. Civic authorities must take immediate action and clear the space. History shows that wherever mangroves are destroyed, encroachment has taken place which then cannot be cleared easily. If the locals are doing it, they are creating a flood risk for themselves. It also looks like a planned attack on the Mithi River banks and mangroves," said an environmentalist D Stalin.

N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest (state mangroves cell) was not available for comment.

A senior official at the cell, however, said, "I have asked the official concerned to visit the spot and get me the details. Only after studying the matter, we will be in a position to comment on whether the stretch falls in our jurisdiction."

Pravin Padwal, additional commissioner of police (traffic), said, "We will inform the MMRDA to re-build the wall and take action against the owners/drivers of parked vehicles."

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