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Hit by delay,desilting of nullahs suffers another setback

AS if the delay in desilting nullahs this year was not enough,BMC is staring at yet another hurdle.

Written by Express News Service | Published: April 30, 2013 4:14 am

AS if the delay in desilting nullahs this year was not enough,BMC is staring at yet another hurdle. District collectors of Thane and Raigad have denied it permission to dump silt at three plots in their jurisdiction. Desilting of nullahs — major and minor — before monsoon is crucial for ensuring there is as little waterlogging as possible during the rainy season.

“We had identified plots outside Thane,Ghodbunder and Alibaug to dump the waste. However,the collectors concerned have not given us permission yet. This is surprising as the owners of these plots have no issues. We hope the matter is resolved soon. We need to begin dumping by the end of this week,” said chief engineer of storm water drains (SWD) department,L S Vhatkar. He added that senior authorities are now taking up the issue at the state level.

“We are not breaking any law. The collectors can’t refuse a No Objection Certificate unless the transaction goes against natural course,” said the chief engineer.

District collector of Raigad,H K Zhavale,said,“We have not yet received the proposal from BMC office. We will have to look at what has been proposed again.”

T\he city has 38 major nullahs,with a total length of about 319 km. These are maintained by the SWD department. The 24 ward offices maintain 119 minor nullahs (about 160 km). Last year,BMC collected over 4.5 lakh cubic metres of silt from the city’s drains and took on the onus of finding dumping grounds for the waste.

However,with city’s own dumping grounds filled beyond capacity,BMC this year included in the tender the condition that contractors must find suitable places for dumping silt. A 20-acre plot owned by BMC at Madh,Malad (West),is already being used for dumping silt. Contractors this year found plots in rural Thane and Ghodbunder in Thane district,and in Alibaug,Raigad district.

“The contractors must suitably dump the removed silt from drains within seven days. This was done in order to have the contractors responsible for disposing of silt. However,if collectors pose a problem with an NOC,what can they do?” said standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale. He added that the neighbouring districts seemed to have a not-in-my backyard sentiment.

Work on desilting nullahs has been mired in problems. Last year,work began as early as March,but this year,it started on Monday. It has to be completed by May 31. The administration blamed the tendering system for the delay. “The first time we issued the e-tender,there were no takers. After making changes and adding conditions,we we able to select 14 contractors for the job in the fourth attempt,” said Vhatkar.

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