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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Watersheds,not wards,to decide how storm water duties are shared

With storm water drainage (SWD) projects delayed over years,the BMC will adopt a new system of accountability for staff of the SWD department,redrawing their areas of responsibility.

Written by Stuti Shukla | Mumbai | Published: June 28, 2010 3:26:38 am

With storm water drainage (SWD) projects delayed over years,the BMC will adopt a new system of accountability for staff of the SWD department,redrawing their areas of responsibility.

The distribution of nullah improvement responsibility,currently on the basis of ward offices,will be replaced by the “watershed management” approach. The move is aimed at improving the rainwater drainage system by 2012.

A watershed is the entire catchment area of a nullah system that includes major and minor nullahs and rivulets with a common discharge outfall point into the sea. A watershed is charted out based on geography and natural drainage systems,instead of ward-level boundaries drawn for administrative convenience.

At present,ward officials work on minor nullahs while officials from the central SWD department work on major nullahs within the ward. Additional municipal commissioner (SWD) Aseem Gupta said such a distribution results in the buck being passed.

“Such a system is time-consuming as certain officials are responsible only for a certain portion of work even within the same nullah. In the watershed system,one executive engineer with his own team of assistant engineers and sub-engineers will be responsible for the cleaning,widening,deepening,desilting etc of the nullah system within his area. It will make it easier for the team to set targets and meet them. We also plan to give them a certain autonomy and powers in their area,” said Gupta.

Through the new system,BMC hopes to check the usual wastage of time and money plaguing all major SWD projects including BRIMSTOWAD. The showpiece project was first proposed in 1993 but 40 per cent of the work remains pending,with the total cost escalating from Rs 616 crore to Rs 2,000 crore.

The BMC plans to give each team managing a watershed the power to raze illegal structures and fine those found dumping garbage in open nullahs. “One of the biggest problems is continuous dumping of waste that choke open nullahs. The team of engineers will be vested with powers to penalise offenders,” a department official said.

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