In an inordinate delay on the part of the civic body in executing phase two of the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP), not one of the 25 works proposed under the massive Rs. 5,371.6 crore project has started, even six years after the project began.
Of these, a worrying 22 works are still stuck at the design stage, while construction of the remaining three works is at least a year away.
This delay in developing the city’s sewage collection, conveyance and treatment systems is not only costing the civic exchequer immensely but is also resulting in environmental and coastal degradation.
Last month, HT had reported how consultancy costs for the project had seen a 115% increase from Rs145.76 crore in 2007 to Rs313.7 crore in 2013.
The overall project cost has also seen a massive hike of 333% in the past six years.
“Out of the seven treatment plants, we are in the process of scrutinising bids received for construction of the Colaba plant, while construction of the Bhandup and Ghatkoppar treatment plants are in the pre-qualification stage,” said a senior civic official from the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project.
Officials also said that after the Ministry of Environment and Forests revised the norms and elevated the level of sewage treatment in 2006-07, the project went into a temporary state of limbo as the entire scope of the work had to be redone.
At present, 2,677 million litres of sewage generated every day is treated at plants, where it receives preliminary treatment before it is let out into the sea.
However, as per data, 774 million litres of sewage generated daily is let out, without any treatment, into nullahs.
Activists have called for a complete change in outlook in waste management.
“Even the existing pumps and equipment at the plants are rarely operational, which means that the sewage is currently not even given preliminary treatment,” said Debi Goenka, executive trustee, Conservation Action Trust.