Mumbai desilting - down the drain

Multiple agencies mess up drains desilting

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | May 15, 2010



A field visit by Mumbai mayor Shraddha Jadhav,  on Thursday  revealed  BMC’s  deadline  of May 31 to complete pre-monsoon work on drains  far fetched.

BMC had   claimed that 60% of the work was  complete. On the contrary the mayor discovered that  multiple agencies working  on cleaning and widening of drains  had  left  60% work incomplete.

Jadhav visited more than 11 spots in the Eastern suburbs on Thursday along with corporators and officials of the storm water department. “The corporation has been promising to complete nullah cleaning work on time, but we are always let down by contractors and other agencies  who do not  allow work on land under their jurisdiction” she said.

The civic body spends over Rs 50 crore to drain , widen and desilt 2,000 km of drains  in the city every year. But the problem lies at places where other authorities have control and minor  nullhas where it is difficult to fix machinery.

Work on increasing the height of a brigde over the boundry nullah at Mulund is struck between the Thane and Mumbai civic authorities. One part of the bridge running over the boundary nullah in Mulund falls under the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) while the part at Mulund end in under the Brihanmumbai Mucnicipal Corporation.

Railway culverts in Kurla have not been desilted properly. This could lead to flooding on the tracks. “The railways don’t do their work properly and then if there is water logging everybody  blames the BMC” Jadhav said.

For want of permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests , the widening of Bombay Oxygen nullah  at Bhandup has been  stalled  because  the nullah runs through  mangroves. Jadhav  warned  that BMC could cut off water connections of agencies that do not complete the work on time. 

There is also a tussle within the BMC  with the bridge department , incharge  of increasing the height of bridges on the drains and the storm water drain department   blaming each other for delay.  Cleaning of drains is an annual pre monsoon exercise of BMC.

For R A  Rajeev, additional  municipal commissioner , in charge  of storm water drains and roads , in fact , the situation is not as bad . He said that the BMC has not only met its deadline but also done sufficient work. The total length of  BMC’s storm water  drain network, including major and minor nullhas, roadside drains, dhapa drains and other water entrances is 3,032 km.

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