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Friday, December 13, 2019

Solutions to flooding far from schedule

The city invariably comes to a halt during a downpour every year.

Written by Stuti Shukla | Mumbai | Published: June 26, 2013 1:55:49 am

The city invariably comes to a halt during a downpour every year. The government agencies’ reactive response to the crisis has been criticised time and again while the long-term solutions to the problem of flooding — Mithi River redevelopment and BRIMSTOWAD — remain way behind schedule.

Eight years after work on the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drainage project (BRIMSTOWAD) was undertaken,a little over 110 km of the 382 km of the century-old underground drainage pipes have been replaced. Two of the eight planned pumping stations are operational.

The project,which aims at strengthening city’s rainwater drainage system,first introduced in 1986 and later shelved due to high costs was revived in 2005 after the July 26 deluge. The project will help eliminate flooding and will be helpful in pouring rainwater into the sea when high rainfall days coincide with abnormally high-tide days

While the Centre had agreed to fund the project under JNNURM,it has not released any more funds beyond Rs 1,000 crores,because of the indefinite delay and subsequent cost escalation from Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 3,900 crore.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta said non-availability of funds,rehabilitation of project-affected persons (PAPs) and land acquisition for pumping stations are the major hurdles.

“The BMC now has to fund the entire project itself. Moreover,land acquisition for pumping stations and delay in ascertaining the eligibility of PAPs continue to be our main problems,” said Gupta.

While work on the Haji Ali and Irla pumping stations were completed more than two years,work on Lovegrove and Cleveland Bunder pumping stations in Worli started only two months back. Reay Road pumping station is likely to be completed by March 2014.

Meanwhile,work on Santacruz,Mogra Nullah and Mahul pumping stations are stuck due to delay in environmental clearances by the MCZMA.

Similarly,1,139 structures along the Mithi River have held up completion of this mega project. Only 10.3 km of the 20 km of retaining wall has been completed so far.

While widening and deepening of the river has been done to a large extent,several stretches such as CST Bridge (Kurla) to Kalina Bridge are still narrow because of encroachments,leading to flooding during heavy rainy days.

The collector’s office has not carried out any work on ascertaining the eligibility of these remaining families since over a year,an official said. The BMC claims to have removed 3,800 structures so far.

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