Fish markets call bandh as coastal villages protest Vadhavan port
Villagers from Zai in Palghar (near the Gujarat border) to Tarapur in Mumbai formed human chains.
Fisherfolk across villages along Maharashtra’s coastline observed a black flag protest on Sunday, October 2 against the upcoming mega port in Vadhavan in the Palghar district. Villagers from Zai in Palghar (near the Gujarat border) to Tarapur in Mumbai responded to the call of protest by keeping fish markets in their villages closed and forming human chains, chanting slogans against the port. Rallies were also organised in several villages along the coastline.
Major fish markets in Mumbai like Colaba, Bhaucha Dhakka, Cuffe Parade remained closed on Sunday. Some villages in the southern coastal districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg also participated in the bandh.
Since the new Shinde-Fadnavis government is pushing to begin the construction of the port, which has been vehemently opposed by the locals for years, the villagers have intensified their protests in the last few months. The port has been proposed in an ecologically sensitive area. Thus along with disrupting the region’s environment, coastal villagers have time and again also expressed fears that the port will take away their homes and livelihoods, which majorly comprise fishing and farmers.
Sunday’s protest was called by Vadhavan Bandar Sangharsh Samiti. Different farmers, tribal associations, local groups and fishermen’s cooperatives in the region participated in the protest.
“Around eight to 10 thousand people came together to form an over 10 km long human chain in the Vadhavan Port area. The human chain stretched from Dhakati Dahanu to Chinchani,” said Aniket Patil, member of Vadhavan Bandar Virodhi Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (a youth organisation protesting against the port). People from Varor, Chinchani, Bahad, Pokharan, Dhakati Dahanu, Vasgaon, etc. participated in the human chain.
Last month during the Ganesh festival, the Ganesh Mandals in many villages in Palghar and Mumbai created awareness against the port through their decorations. These villagers said that since they are denied the right to gather and protest most of the time by the consecutive implementations of Section 144 in the district, the villagers have been finding innovative ways to express dissent. Citizen forums in the villages have been connecting people from different villages by informing them of the disadvantages of the port in the area.