Passenger water transport system concern at hearing

Residents and fishermen living near proposed terminal points for a passenger water transport system on the western coast voiced concern regarding interference with fishing zones and debris pile-up at a public hearing Friday.

The hearing was organised by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) project after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests made it a condition for a green nod.

It was conducted under the chairmanship of Mumbai city and suburbs collectors Chandrashekhar Oak and Sanjay Deshmukh.

Leaders of fishermen unions such as Rajhans Tapke, Ramakant Patil, Vedant Katkar and Shantaram Chandu said passenger boats should not obstruct fishing areas nurtured for over 800 years. They also questioned MSRDC about plans to ensure passenger and fishing boats do not collide.

They said Bandra-Worli Sea Link had had an adverse effect on stock in fishing bays at Mahim, Bandra and Worli.

Bipin Shrimali, vice-chairman and MD of MSRDC, said all demands of fishermen would be incorporated in the project plan.

The project will create a water transport network between Nariman Point and Borivali with terminals at Bandra, Juhu, Versova and Marve and give commuters a time-saving option to travel on air-conditioned catamarans and hovercrafts.

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