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Sea Link Protests

Posted by Kshitija Nadgouda on March 28, 2006

The Bandra-Worli sea link and the western freeway sea link project on the whole has come into the limelight again today, when the Indian Nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar announced that she would leave Mumbai if the flyover at Peddar Road was constructed.

It is sad to note that Lata Mangeshkar, a former Rajya Sabha member, is protesting this development only for personal issues -the proposed flyover alignment will obstruct the view from her first floor window.

The Peddar Road Residents Association (PRRA) is planning to take legal action against the PWD (Public Works Department) for witholding traffic survey data for the same flyover. The PRRA are of the opinion that the sea link project will ease traffic and congestion issues even without the Peddar Road flyover which was evident from traffic suvey that was withheld from them. They plan to meet Member of Parliament Milind Deora and also take a delegation to the central environmental ministry.

These two forms of protest caught my eye – both protesting the same issue, but in very different ways and for different reasons! Development versus Environment has always been a big issue worldwide. While everyone agrees that development is essential for the development of human race, nature and environment should not be sacrificed as a result.

India needs to have stricter Environmental laws and more stringent implementation of these laws. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) issued an environmental clearance for the project in February 2003. Several issues of concern pointed out by the Indian People’s Tribunal of Environment and Human Rights that I talked about on Friday, have been addressed.

The current quality of air, water and sound pollution have been studied and the impact on them during and after construction have been predicted. It will now be necessary to monitor these during and after construction and if they are exceeding the permissible limits, corrective action needs to be taken dynamically.

The question that arises is: Are the concerned Indian Government agencies and Departments pro-active and dynamic enough to handle this? It will remain to be seen…

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Copyright Kshitija Nadgouda.

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