While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is gearing up to deal with waterlogging complaints this monsoon, an ambitious project planned after the July 26, 2005 deluge remains on paper.
Following the 2005 flood when it rained 944 mm on a single day, the BMC started the Brihanmumbai storm water disposal system (Brimstowad) project that inlcudes 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.
Of the eight pumping stations planned, only four have been made operational since 2006. While Haji Ali, Lovegrove and Cleveland at Worli, and Irla at Juhu are functional, work on the Britannia (Reay Road) pumping station is in final stage and is likely to be operational later this month. The work on Guzdarband (Santa Cruz) pumping station is likely to be operational by the year end, after this monsoon. However, work on the Mahul and Mogra pumping stations is yet to start.
Further, of the 58 works for upgradation of drainage systems to improve how fast rainwater recedes, only 26 have been completed so far while 29 works are in progress. The BMC has invited tenders for the remaining three works, said an official from the storm water drains department.
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The project was expected to be completed in two phases but has already missed two deadlines — 2011 and 2015. The delay in commissioning the project has also led to a cost escalation with the work now set to cost Rs 4,000 crore, up from the initial cost of Rs 1,200 crore.
The delay in getting permissions from other agencies is the main reason cited for the delay in completion of Brimstowad. “We now plan to complete it by 2019,” added the official. Currently, the capacity to recede the rainwater of storm water drains is around 25-30 mm per hour. The Brimstowad project plans to increase it to 50 mm per hour. The civic body has claimed that the Britannia pumping station, to be commissioned later this month, will make the Hindmata junction in Dadar, the Lalbaug, Kalachowkie, Byculla (E) free of flooding this monsoon.
These areas are the chronic waterlogging spots every monsoon. Senior officials said the civic body solely cannot be blamed for the delay in completion of the project.
“The land acquisition and the removal of slum encroachments have remained major hurdles to deal with before us. Also, getting the clearances from the Coastal Zone Management Authority and then rehabilitating the project-affected people is also another tough task. After this only, we can invite tenders for the construction of the pumping stations,” said a senior official.
Laxman Vatkar, chief engineer of SWD, said the Briatannia pumping station will be operational in this month, while Gazdarbandh will be operational by year end.