Residents of pockets in South Mumbai, which got waterlogged during heavy rain last year, are sceptical about the BMC’s claim that similar flood-like situation is unlikely to be repeated this year.
Areas including Churchgate, Marine Drive, Fort, Oval Maidan, Charni Road, Girgaum, Breach Candy, Nair Hospital, Agripada, Worli Sea Face, Lamington Road and Walkeshwar Road were waterlogged for a long time last year, with water gushing into many gated housing societies that had hitherto been largely unaffected by Mumbai’s heavy rain.
“No visible long-term measures like widening has been taken to improve storm water drains in the area. Also due to Metro construction, a lot of silt and garbage has choked our drains. If we get the same intensity of rain as last year, I believe we would end up facing a similar situation,” said Churchgate resident Faredoon Bhujwala, who lives at Fair Lawns, an art deco building near Oval Maidan, which got flooded in August last year.
Residents of Marine Drive, where many buildings witnessed similar issues, said they had not seen drain capacity enhancement work being done by the BMC since last monsoon.
“Just 10 days back, during the cyclone, our area got waterlogged. We have written a letter to the assistant municipal commissioner of A ward and municipal commissioner about the shabby cleaning work of drains in the locality. The old concrete road is also broken and not been repaired on F Road,” said Nikhil Banker, secretary general of Marine Drive Residents Action Group (MDRAG).
Last year, on August 5, over 200 mm rainfall was recorded in South Mumbai along with gusty winds. Officials from the BMC said the flooding was mainly due to heavy rainfall.
According to officials, cleaning of drains has been undertaken to ensure that no these areas do not face any kind of waterlogging. “Last year, intensity of rain was much higher. We have done thorough de-silting work in the area. We have also held a meeting with Metro officials to ensure proper cleaning. In Marine Drive areas, there are only side drains so we have completed the de-silting work properly,” said Chanda Jadhav, assistant municipal commissioner, A ward (Churchgate and Colaba).
After Girgaon Chowpatty was left flooded, the BMC had conducted an investigation. The civic body found that there is no drain line from Babulnath Temple to Girgaon Chowpatty along with small drains.
“We have been constructing a new drain that will connect Babulnath Temple area. The pipeline has been laid and it will be connected to Marine Drive area,” said P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner.
The BMC has also planned to construct a new drain near Wilson College to Nana Nani Park, Charni Road. Recalling last year’s flood-like situation, local BJP corporator Minal Patel said water entered her house in Khetwadi, Girgaon. “The work of new drains has been completed in the area. We are hopeful that things will be better this year,” Patel said.
The BMC prepares a list of flooding spots, where remedial measures include remodelling draining channel, increasing water absorption in the area and adding floodgates.
Nana Chowk on Grant Road is a low-lying area and one of the chronic flooding spots in the city. After years of using dewatering pumps at the site, the BMC is now planning to divert flood water through a new storm water drain towards Girgaum Chowpatty, which is over 2 km away. The civic body has said the consultants to study its feasibility will be appointed.
For Mumbai Central and Nair Hospital, officials from the storm water drain department claimed that ongoing Metro 3 work had damaged the old drain network, leading to flooding last year. Nair Hospital is one of the new flooding spots listed this year. While a box drain will be constructed by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation after completion of the Metro, an additional dewatering pump has been installed at the site ahead of this year’s monsoon.
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