EVEN AS cases of waterlogging were reported in parts of the city following heavy showers on Sunday evening, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said he is confident that not only is the city ready for monsoon, but also systems undoubtedly functioned much better over Sunday and Monday morning than in many years.
On Sunday, waterlogging was reported in areas like Hindmata, N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road in Dadar, Gandhi Market in Kings Circle and R A Kidwai Market in Wadala west, among other locations. Referring to Hindmata, Mehta, speaking at an Idea Exchange interaction on Monday, said the inundation there was caused by a delay in switching on the dewatering pumps, leading to flooding for about 20-25 minutes.
“There was a delay in switching on the pumps since the SOP (standard operation procedure) states that the pump should be switched on during high tide and the flooding occurred during low tide. But as soon we realised there was flooding, immediate instructions were given and within 10 minutes the streets were clear,” said Mehta. He added that learning from the experience, the pumps were switched on as soon rains started on Monday.
Mehta also stated that some inundation after the first showers, during which it rained nearly 35-40 mm in about an hour, was due to blocked drainage laterals. “There are 1.22 lakh water laterals in the city along the roads which drain the water. The first rains tends to collect trash like leaves and plastics in drain openings.
A lot of time is expended on cleaning them. The minute trash was removed, water drained out,” he said. All manholes along major junctions and at chronic flooding spots will also be manned during the monsoon, he said, to ensure that rain water drains out fast.
Asked whether the contractor lobby is attempting to hold BMC hostage by not participating in two key tenders — for pothole filling and for desilting of minor nullahs — the commissioner said alternative arrangements are already in place. With contractors not bidding for these tenders in the wake of road repairs and drain desilting scams, the BMC has had to use NGOs and its own labourers for cleaning minor drains while pothole filling will now be undertaken by contractors assigned to do road restoration works.
“For instance, in the minor nullahs, the work was done through NGO and monitored by the ward officials and the pothole repair work has been given to the road restoration contractors,” he said, adding that there is a “churn” following exhaustive changes in the designing of the tendering process for various works in the BMC. “We hope that there will be better response next year from the contractors,” said Mehta.