More than five years and after an investment of Rs 350 crore,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has still not been able to complete the rejuvenation of a 6-kilometre stretch of the Mithi River and has now extended the deadline for the fifth time.
The MMRDA,which was earlier expecting to complete the revival of the river for the stretch between CST bridge and Mahim Causeway by March this year,has now pushed the deadline to December,as land acquisition hurdles are yet to be cleared. Work had started in 2006 and the original deadline for completion was December 2008.
The authority is also yet to complete the widening and deepening between Mahim causeway and Dharavi bridge. It has recently invited bids for the work and has listed the period of completion as 12 months,including the monsoon.
We have finished 85 per cent of the work and expect to resolve the remaining land acquisition issues in the coming months, said D U Gajbhiye,superintending engineer,MMRDA,said. However,the widening and deepening work can start only after the rains.
The MMRDA has to clear close to 1,400 encroachments at Parigh Khadi,Maharashtra Nagar,Valmiki Nagar and Ambedkar Nagar to construct retaining walls and a service road. There are also 43 scrap dealers and 18 godowns that need to be demolished,for which the MMRDA is waiting for the district collectors office to provide a list of the structures eligible for compensation.
A major hurdle was getting land at Parigh Khadi as the residents were resisting any construction in the open space there. We have recently solved the problem and work should start soon, Gajbhiye said. The demolition of the 600 structures at Parigh Khadi to build a service road will be undertaken later,possibly after December,as the residents are considering a Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme,he said.
The MMRDA is expecting to start the demolition of structures at Dnyaneshwar Nagar,Ambedkar Nagar and Valmiki Nagar in April.
The authority also needs a patch of land in the Taximan Colony in Kurla to construct a retaining wall. However members of the colony have been demanding extra floor space index in return for the land. We have sent them two notices,the latest on March 13,asking them to hand over land in seven days or else we plan to take possession in April, Gajbhiye said.