WHILE HEAPS of waste removed from drains as part of the pre-monsoon cleaning of stormwater drains dot the roads in the city and the suburbs, BMC officials claimed that traffic congestion on the roads and paucity of parking spaces are among the reasons behind the silt and waste piling up by the roadside. While pre-monsoon cleaning of drains is regularly carried out by the civic body, this year, contractors have failed to transport the silt and filth to landfill sites for disposal. Thus, the stinking heaps of silt or waste pulled out over 15 days ago has turned dry and hardened in the scorching sun.
Usually, BMC removes the silt after two to three days, allowing it to dry in the sun. The idea is to ensure that the wet silt doesn’t leave a trail on the roads on its way to the dumpyard, said an official. Locals fear that these mounds of garbage accumulated on the streets just next to the footpaths, if not disposed before the rains, could slip back into the same drains from where it was removed. Some also fear that the waste may breed mosquitoes and insects. “In spite of reporting this to the municipality, the filth remains. Is the BMC waiting for the rains wash away the filth back into the drains? This nullah safari business has become a joke now… as if they clean the nullahs just to dirty the roads,” Deepshikha S, resident of Dahisar Mamta Colony near Dahisar Subway.
Advocate Vivekanand Gupta, a resident of Sahar Road in Andheri, said: “The filth continues to lie near Andheri Kurla road, Chakala, Sahar road in Andheri (East) and also in many areas of Andheri (West). Why is the civic body not addressing the issue? The contractors are not following rules and it is a shame that the BMC is not taking any action.”
Civic officials claimed that contractors gain nothing out of leaving the filth on the roads. “Unless the contractors get a challan of weighed silt or garbage, they don’t get paid. Hence, they have to pick up all the silt they have deposited on the streets for drying,” said a senior BMC official. Chief engineer of stormwater drains department, V H Khandkar, said: “The process of lifting the trash from roadsides has begun and the contractors will be clearing the roads as soon as possible. A problem of transportation, traffic congestion, limited window of time for pick up and no temporary parking available for pick up vehicles are some of the reasons behind the delay.”
“The filth has to be picked up within a limited time frame to avoid inconvenience to residents. Limited rounds for pick up due to heavy traffic has also led to this delay. However, work will be completed soon. We have been able to clean over 50 per cent of the nullahs so far,” he added.