JUHU AIRPORT authorities have sought help from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure drainage water from the neighbourhood does not enter the airport premises during the monsoon. The BMC has been specifically asked to help keep sub-surface water flow from surrounding areas off the airside.
The operations of the oldest aerodrome in the country get affected due to water-logging after heavy rain. At a meeting last month, airport and civic authorities held discussions about covering the drainage line and desilting nullahs. With a lot of accumulated water in the airside, sub-surface water flow from nearby construction sites and slums remains an issue.
“Last year, we installed high power pumps to drain out the water from the runway strip and airport. The airport is in a low-lying region and gets affected due to drainage water from surrounding areas. We have asked the BMC to ensure that a proper drainage plan is worked out to prevent the waterlogging problem,” said Juhu airport director M K Bimal.
Only one major drainage line and four minor nullahs exist near the airport between Juhu Tara Road to Nehru Road. Since the airport is close to the Juhu beach, it also receives water in high tide. Officials say they avoid this “back-water flow” problem with pumps.
“Excessive garbage dumping from slums, including Nehru Nagar and Indira Nagar near the airport, chokes the proper flow of water. We have spoken to authorities concerned, and now vehicles come to collect the garbage,” said a senior official from the airport. However, BMC authorities claim desilting work has been carried out in both major and minor nullahs around the airport. Till May-end, all the nullahs around the airport were attended to at least once, it says.
“Proper connectivity of drainage lines around airport slums is absent. The lines gets choked due to haphazard dumping of plastic and other nondisposable material in these nullahs. Unless this is solved, no amount of work done will be enough,” said Vidyadhar Khandkar, deputy chief engineer, storm water drains, western suburbs.
“Each of the nullahs around the airport has been attended to at least once during the pre-monsoon works. The same cannot be said for the water accumulated inside the airport, as the corporation faces shortage of staff and funds. We could give the required guidance to the authorities for it,” he added, while claiming that cleaning work inside the airport is the responsibility of its owner.