Unless work accelerates,the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will miss the December deadline for the Mithi project which aims at deepening the riverbed,widening the nullahs,building a retaining wall,besides rehabilitating displaced slumdwellers.
MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said only 10 per cent of the work remains,but a visit to the site showed a much wider gap between target and progress.
Of the 10.44 km wall to be constructed by the MMRDA,only 6.5 km has been completed; of the 20-km wall the BMC is supposed to build,7.6 km has been completed. As far rehabilitating project-affected is concerned,the MMRDA is facing problems at Valmiki Nagar and Maharashtra Nagar near Vakola. In these areas,it is yet to shift 600 Project Affected People (PAP). The width of Vakola Nullah (a portion of the river) at these places is only 20-25 metres against the proposed 60.
However,almost 97 per cent of the river-deepening work is over.
Another worry for MMRDA is creating a channel between Dharavi bridge and Mahim Causeway,a 1.28-km stretch. From Mahim Causeway,the channel was to be created 2.14 km into the sea. In April 2007,MMRDA awarded the contract of blasting the rocks and creating the channel. The work was supposed to have been completed in 15 months,but the contract was extended,finally to December 2010 by the MMRDA.
The 2005 deluge had led to the project,mainly to avert floods. The MMRDA and the BMC were to share the work. The BMC was asked to construct 10 bridges across the river scrapping existing ones.
Of the 17.4-km Mithi stretch in the city,11 kilometres are under BMC control and 6 km under MMRDA,while 400 metres are under the Airports Authority of India. In December 2009,the MMRDA had sent a proposal to the Ministry of Urban Development for funds amounting to Rs 1,657 crore as Additional Central Assistance (ACA) for the project.