Worli police to fishermen: “Stop interfering with Coastal Road work”

Fishermen have been blocking the BMC's contractor from building an interchange between the Coastal Road and the Worli end.

Since October 14, fishermen have blocked the BMC’s contractor from constructing an interchange between the Coastal Road and the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

Mumbai Under Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Worli Police issued a notice to protesting fishermen from Worli Koliwada on Monday, ordering them to “stop interfering” with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s ongoing Coastal Road construction work (BMC).

Anil Koli, senior police inspector, Worli, signed the police notice, a copy of which was obtained by Hindustan Times. “You and your colleagues are frequently disrupting the ongoing work of the Coastal Road project by carrying out fishing activities near Cleveland Bunder in violation of orders“, the letter says, addressed to Nitesh Patil, secretary of the Worli Koliwada Matsyavyavsay Sahakari Sangathan (a registered fish worker’s society).

In October, the BMC informed fishermen that they would be unable to conduct business in the area for the next two years. Fishermen have continued to operate in the area and have frequently thwarted attempts by the BMC to resume construction work since the BMC has not agreed to their demands for a redesign of the interchange.

If you and your colleagues reunite in the future and interrupt the Coastal Road project’s work, causing law and order difficulties, you will be held fully responsible and prosecuted. Any disobedience of this injunction will result in appropriate legal action“, the letter adds.

According to a 1997 judgement of the Mumbai High Court, all forms of protest, including meetings, fasts, marches, dharnas, and so on, are illegal at any venue in South Mumbai other than Azad Maidan.

Fisherfolk, on the other hand, has stated that they would not abandon their requests for a redesign of the interchange and that they will reply to the police’s warning through the proper channels.

Despite regulatory clearances for the project prohibiting any construction that hinders fishers’ traditional livelihoods, fishermen have repeatedly stated that the proposed interchange between the Coastal Road and the BWSL will force them to close Cleveland Bunder, an artisan fishing port in Worli Koliwada.

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