With the monsoon around the corner, the BMC has claimed that some spots in the city are likely to be flooded due to dumping of garbage in desilted and cleaned nullahs. Figures show that around 150 nullahs could cause floods this year, with 21 of these being in the island city, 59 in the eastern suburbs and 69 in the western suburbs.
Following the Rs 150-crore drain desilting scam last year, the civic body received a tepid response from contractors for the work this year. As a result, the civic body asked ward officials to clean up minor nullahs with the help of NGOs.
Political parties claimed that the BMC has not worked judicially and is just trying to shrug its responsibilities off.
Raees Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator, said, “It is not possible for the people to have dumped so much in just 10 days. The BMC has failed to clean these nullahs.”
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“The BMC has not worked properly this year. Rather than concentrating on who is responsible for the dumping, it should focus on the bigger issue of cleaning of these nullahs,” said Praveen Chheda, Leader of Opposition in the BMC.
He also added that when he visited these nullahs last month to survey their cleaning, he could see that no work was done. “Last month, I visited some of these nullahs and my suspicions were confirmed. For example, Behrampada and Chamdawadi nullahs were not cleaned at all.”
The BMC, however, said that the desilting was carried out on time and it has reports to back up its claim. “The desilting was done. But even after spreading awareness in these areas, people have not stopped dumping garbage in nullahs. The BMC cannot be blamed is such cases because we did our job well,” said Laxman Vhatkar, Chief Engineer, storm water drain department, BMC.
Activists said both the civic body and residents are to blame. “Both the parties are to be blamed, I believe. I myself monitored some cleanliness drives undertaken by the BMC. The civic body did clean up a lot of nullahs. But in just 10 days, the situation was back to square one because of people dumping garbage in them,” said Anandita Thakoor, member of Khar Resident’s Association.
“However, on some nullahs, the BMC just did not work. In Khar, I believe some of the nullahs require attention,” Thakoor added.
Another activist, Anil Joseph, said shifting slums located very close to nullahs could help.
“The BMC is working but the cooperation of the people is also needed. If people do not stop dumping garbage, all initiatives by the BMC would go waste. Slum dwellers and other residents living very close to nullahs should be relocated.”