ELEVEN YEARS after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had started work on Brihanmumbai storm water disposal system, the project has come to a halt owing to around 22,800 encroachments.
In order to avoid chances of floods during the upcoming monsoon, the storm water drains (SWD) department has taken stock of all the encroachments. Last week, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta directed all the ward officials as well as the deputy municipal commissioners to remove all the encroachments on a priority basis.
The long list of encroachments includes work on major as well as minor nullahs, which partly fall under the BRIMSTOWAD project. All the encroachments have been divided into Priority I and II depending on the urgency of the work.
“The tenders where the work orders have been issued and work is under process will be considered first and the encroachments which are mostly part of slums will have to be removed immediately. Other encroachments which are affecting the remaining works will be taken after that and all of them will have to be removed before the monsoon arrives next year,” said Laxman Vhatkar.
There are 86 projects of the SWD department which are affected due to encroachments. The projects affected by a higher number of encroachments fall within the Priority-II category. For instance, improvement and repairs are needed in the 3.41-km-long Dadar-Dharavi nullah, which is affected by 2,000-odd encroachments. Similarly, the training, widening and reconstruction of the 1.49-km-long Deonar nullah system can only begin after 1,186 illegal structures are removed.
While there are 4,508 encroachments which lie within the city zone, the eastern suburbs has 8,343 while the western suburbs has the highest number of 10,023 encroachments. In the western and eastern suburbs, however, majority of the works fall within the Priority-I category.
The BMC had started work on the BRIMSTOWAD project after the floods in 2005. The project was supposed to include installation of eight pumping stations and 58 different works for upgradation and improvement of the rain-receding capacity of the city’s century-old drainage system.
However, only four of them are currently operational including, Haji Ali, Lovegrove and Cleveland at Worli, and Irla at Juhu. Even though the Britannia pumping station was inaugurated earlier this year, several complaints of waterlogging were reported near Hindmata cloth market in Dadar among other nearby areas.