Within days of taking charge as Additional Municipal Commissioner, Vijay Singhal Wednesday pulled up storm water drains department of the BMC, holding it responsible for incidents of waterlogging that took place at 41 locations Monday night. Singhal issued a show-cause notice to Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer of the department, for failing to issue directions to start up the Britannia pumping station during the heavy rains for about an hour Monday night.
Britannia pumping station on Reay Road, which was inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray last year, is supposed to automatically start functioning on days when high tide is predicted. On days when the city receives heavy rainfall, officials manning the station are supposed to manually start the pumps. “There should have been better coordination between the officials in the department. If the Britannia pumping station had been started on time, there would have been fewer cases of waterlogging and the water would have receded much faster,” said a senior official.
Singhal also said the storm water drains department had failed to complete work on the Gazdarbund pumping station in Khar West within the stipulated time and has sought an explanation. “Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had given a deadline of May 31 to ensure the Gazdarbund pumping station is functional this monsoon. However, even two weeks after the deadline, the work is yet to be completed,” said the official. Despite several calls and messages, neither Vhatkar nor Singhal could be reached for a comment.
After the floods of 2005, the civic body had taken up construction of eight pumping stations under the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (BRIMSTOWAD) project in order to increase the capacity of the drainage system. Among the eight pumping stations, three — Gazdarbund in Khar, Mogra Nullah in Santacruz and Mahul Creek in Chembur — are yet to be completed.
The city received an average of 56 mm of rainfall between 9.30 pm and 10.30 pm Monday. The disaster management cell reported complaints of waterlogging from 14 locations in the city, six from the eastern suburbs and 21 locations from the western suburbs. Apart from Hindmata, Shivaji Park, Dharavi, Gandhi Market, Parel and Sion in south Mumbai, complaints of waterlogging also poured in from Govandi, Chembur, Kalina and Deonar in the eastern suburbs and Malad, Goregaon, Vile Parle, Borivali, Kandivli, Bandra and Santacruz in the western suburbs.