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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Flood-free rains in Mumbai? Unlikely this year

Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 10, 2013
First Published: 01:29 IST(10/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(10/5/2013)

Even as the city lacks the infrastructure needed to ensure a flood-free monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to take basic steps to reduce waterlogging during the monsoon.

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Work on two flood-control measures — nullah desilting and construction of two storm water pumping stations — that would have mitigated troubles faced by the city, is behind schedule.

According to the plan, the civic body was to build two storm water pumping stations at Worli — Love Grove and Cleveland Bunder — to reduce waterlogging in flood-prone areas of Dadar (West), Parel, Chinchpokli and Currey Road. However, the construction work at both these sites has been delayed by a year.

“Despite our efforts, it is unlikely that the pumping stations will start this year. The work that needs to be carried out is extensive,” said Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer, storm water drains.

While technical delays in construction work have affected the completion of pumping stations, delay in finding plots to dump silt has ensured that only five per cent of the work is complete as yet.

Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader in the BMC, said, “With the desilting work having barely begun yet, citizens will have to be prepared for the worst this monsoon. The civic administration has messed up in the pre-monsoon preparations this year.”

Activists want the process of desilting to be changed. “Most of the silt runs off the streets and is back in the nullahs during the monsoon. Desilting should begin in January, so that the BMC can complete it on time,” said Rishi Aggarwal, an environment activist.

Aggarwal said that the BMC must develop a software that would give real-time updates on the desilting work.

“The problem of localised flooding can be addressed only by bringing in transparency. The software will help citizens keep a check on the desilting work, particularly of minor nullahs in their localities,” he said.


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