The delay in ascertaining the eligibility of over 9,000 families to be rehabilitated has put the brakes on the long-pending Brihanmumbai Stormwater Drainage (BRIMSTOWAD) project.
Though the civic administration has over 4,500 project-affected persons (PAP) ready for allotment,the delay in deciding the eligibility of these 9,000 families by the Collectors office is hampering the removal of encroachments along major nullahs. Even as the BMC has 4,000 tenements ready for allotment to these families,it is waiting for the confirmation of the eligibility.
The project,aimed at strengthening the rainwater drainage system,has already missed its 2012 deadline and is now expected to be completed by 2014.
According to L S Vhatkar,Chief Engineer,Storm Water Department (SWD) ,We have had various meetings with the Collectors office in the last two years,but the process to determine the families eligible for PAPs is going slow. Once we are given the details of families eligible for PAPs,we can remove encroachments along the nullahs and expedite the project.
The delay has also led to a further escalation of costs of the project. Of the 12,000 families to be rehabilitated,only 3,000 have been shifted so far and about 1,500 are in the process of being shifted. The cut-off date for slum dwellers eligible to be PAPs under the BRIMSTOWAD project was extended from 1995 to 2000 before the previous Assembly elections.
Meanwhile,the project which is intended to improve the citys drainage system to flush out water in case of floods has seen a cost escalation from Rs 1,200 crore in 2007 to Rs 3,900 crore in 2012.
Last month,the BMC had sent a detailed project report to the Centre seeking additional funds due to the cost escalation.
As many as 99 km out of the century-old network of 382 km of drainage pipes have been replaced so far. The project was first introduced in 1986 and then got shelved due to high costs. It was later revived in 2005 after the July 26 deluge that year.
While the BMC has earmarked Rs 794 crore for this project in its budget,it has received only Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre. While it is expecting the remaining Rs 200 crore promised by the Centre,officials say that claiming the rest of the money will be a difficult task due to cost escalations seen over the years.