Waterlogging and traffic congestion triggered by heavy rainfall has once again raised doubts over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) monsoon preparedness claims.
In 2019-20, the BMC spent more than Rs 100 crore on nullah cleaning as part of its pre-monsoon work, which was deemed to be satisfactory by both the ruling Shiv Sena and the administration. The civic body had also claimed to have cleaned up to 70 per cent nullahs, however, the first day of heavy showers washed away its claim.
On Friday, as LBS Road in Kurla, S V Road in Bandra, Andheri subway near Mogra nullah, Sakinaka and Hindmata saw intense flooding, citizens blamed poor planning and shoddy de-silting work for waterlogging.
Khar-resident Zoru Bhathena said flooding on S V Road in Bandra west was not new, but year-after-year the civic authorities had been unable to to fix the problem. “How many more years will it take to fix the flooding on S V Road? The government can build world-class Metros, but is unable to fix a drain? Warped priorities?” Bhathena asked.
In several areas, citizens also blamed shoddy cleaning of drains for the waterlogging. “At many places, including Kurla west, silt removed from drains was kept as it is. After rains it was washed away into the same drain. What is the point of cleaning drains and paying money to contractors if silt is not to be lifted?” Saurabh Phadke, a resident of Chuna Bhatti, said. Mumbai has drain network of 2,900-km of which a maximum of 1,600-km network is in western suburbs.
There were also reports of BMC’s pumping stations not working in full capacity. Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal, however, denied any such problem. “All pumping stations were working,” he said.
While the civic body was slammed for poor pre-monsoon works, it earned praise for quick real time response. Soon after the rain started pounding the city, netizens flooded social media sites with photographs of flooded streets and roads, with many tagging the BMC on Twitter as well. The BMC’s response in addressing these complaints reportedly earned it much applause on Facebook and Twitter.
“As photographs of waterlogging or tree fall were posted on social media, we immediately directed our concerned wards to take the necessary action. This has gone well with the citizens with several people, who were criticising the BMC for flooding, appreciating the efforts to put in by our team,” a BMC official said.
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