The City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO), which is developing the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), plans to once again consult the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, on measures that may help prevent waterlogging in villages around the proposed airport. While CWPRS had suggested measures earlier, CIDCO wants to re-confirm these.
After CIDCO started levelling the ground at the airport site last year, local residents claimed this monsoon, villages, including Kombudbhuj, Dungi and Pargav, experienced floods during heavy rains. According to CIDCO officials, they will now re-consult CWPRS on drainage plans suggested for the affected villages.
“While we had consulted CWPRS before, we want to re-confirm the short-term and long-term measures they have suggested. We also want to know if we need to take additional measures which can avoid waterlogging in villages,” said Lokesh Chandra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, CIDCO.
In its earlier recommendations, CWPRS had ruled out the possibility of flooding in villages around the airport due to construction work. CIDCO is also diverting the course of the Ulwe river, work on which is expected to be completed before monsoon next year.
When Mumbai received heavy rains on July 10, the villages surrounding the airport, including Dungi and Pargav, saw serious inundation. In protest, local residents staged a ‘rasta roko’ on the main road, blocking entry into the Karanjade node. Since then, senior CIDCO officials and political leaders in Raigad have made frequent visits to the villages. “The situation worsens with each rain shower. The last time it rained, we were in neck-deep water. We cannot relocate immediately but with every rain, we suffer huge losses,” said Dhanraj Nail of Dungi village.
As Dungi and Pargav are not part of the airport core site, its residents are not required to relocate. Villagers have, however, demanded temporary accommodation from CIDCO during monsoon. They have also demanded a rehabilitation package similar to that offered to 10 villages directly affected by the project.
“We are still taking stock of the situation. We have employed required short-term measures, including providing water pumps and making holding ponds in these villages. We are in talks with the municipal corporation and other authorities to design a proper drainage system in these villages,” Chandra added.