IN THE aftermath of the heavy flooding in Vasai-Virar satellite townships a week ago, the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC) has decided to build sophisticated stormwater drains to address the problem in the future.
However, over the past four years, stormwater drains were absent in the civic body’s budget. The Sunday Express looks at the civic body’s budgetary provisions for drain cleaning and stormwater drains to decode the corpaoration’s monsoon preparedness.
It was in 2014-15 that the VVCMC last spent Rs 71.5 lakh on the construction and maintenance of stormwater drains, according to annual budgets available on the civic body’s website. In the years following, neither has the VVCMC allocated any funds nor has it spent anything on stormwater drains.
For the 2018-19, the corporation had sought to spend Rs 50 lakh on stormwater drains but did not get an approval from the standing committee.
Civic Commissioner Satish Lokhande said Vasai, Nallasopara and Virar have natural nullahs that flow into the creek. “The cities have their small drains and natural channels that flow into the creek but now we are planning to build an integrated stormwater drainage system for the entire area,” he said.
While residents claim that nullahs had not been cleaned before the onset of the monsoons, the budget 2018-19 predicts that the VVCMC ought to have spent Rs 5.5 crore on nullah cleaning by April 2018. However, actual estimates suggest that only Rs 74 lakh had been spent on nullah cleaning until November 2017. This estimated expense on nullah cleaning is much higher than what the civic body spent on the activity in 2016-17 (Rs 3.33 crore). For the next year, a budget of Rs 5.5 crore has been set aside for the task, which is merely 0.28 per cent of the total budget of Rs 1,971.68 crore.