Over 8000 people joined peoples movement organaised by Samrudha Kokan Sangathana and Kokan Highway Co-ordination Committee
Mumbai 8th Sept 2021: Mumbai-Goa highway is the lifeline for whole of Kokan region. With daily movement of lakhs of people and tonnes of cargo, it connects the financial capital to the smaller towns and villages in the Kokan region. Since the last 12 years, the process of making the highway into a 4 lane expressway has been undertaken, which is yet to be completed. Over 2500 lives have been lost till date since the work began, and the Kokan natives are questioning How many more lives have to be lost for them to get a safe highway which will take them to their native place? ‘Swarajyabhoomi Konkan Highway Jan Andolan’ a peaceful agitation organaised by Samrudha Kokan Sangathana and Kokan Highway Co-ordination Committee was held in several places in Kokan to protest against the existing highway work which has been stuck for years and to demand speeding up the highway development process. The state government has recently proposed a new expressway which will connect Mumbai and Sindhudurg via Raigad and Ratnagiri which will reduce the time to 3hours to reach Kokan, despite the existing highway development has not yet finished and travelers on the populated Mumbai-Goa highway travel with extreme suffering and with a fear for their lives.
Over 8000 people joined in a human chain for peaceful agitation which was conducted in places on the Mumbai-Goa Highway like Poladpur, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Sindhudurg, Panvel and Palaspe. Like building a dam, work has been going on for 12 years without any end to the plight of the suffering of the people from Kokan region. Main demand from ‘Swarajyabhoomi Konkan Highway Jan Andolan’ has been that the work stuck for 12 years has to be completed in 1 year or the people from Kokan region will scale up their protests and block the roads coming into Mumbai city.
Sanjay Yadavrao, Founder of ‘Samrudh Konkan Sanghtana’ shared, “Government has planned a Rs.70,000/-crore project to make a new highway in Kokan, but what about the existing one. 12 long years have passed, thousands of lives lost and yet the simple development of a better road has not yet been completed. Give us a smooth safe 2 lane highway like they have in Germany, we will be happy to use it, but give us a highway first. We do not wish to travel on potholed roads to our homes with a fear of reaching there without harm or the anxiety of coming to Mumbai safely. If the work is not completed in a year, the people of Kokan will rise up in one voice and ensure their demands are heard globally.”
Kokan region has some extraordinary locations which put even the foreign locales to shame, but to complete the 4 lane highway, mountains and forests have been destroyed which has played havoc with the environment. The recent flooding and landslides due to the heavy rains are a direct result of the brutal attack on the flora and fauna of the region. He further added, “To make this so called 4 lane highway, lot of mountains, farms and forests have been uprooted and demolished. This has damaged the fragile and unique topography of the region. We do not want a four-lane road in Konkan by digging a mountain like a dam, we demand a road which will be pothole free and will not take more lives.”
Some of the demands put forth by Swarajyabhumi Kokan Highway Co-ordination Committee
- Pothole free highways should be completed in the next one year as announced.
- Underpass facilities should be provided near schools and villages.
- Dangerous turns that cause accidents, ghats should be made as easy as possible.
- JNPT, Dighi, Panvel to Mangaon road with industrial belt should be completely concretized road along with a service road.
- Toll should not be levied till existing highway work is completed.
- River silt should be used for highway work for filling instead of digging hills and destroying.
- Make the country a beautiful green highway by planting various trees on the highway.
- Facilitate farmers market at every 25 km.