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Poorvi Kulkarni and Alok Deshpande, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, June 08, 2012
 If you have a rough monsoon this year, you can blame not just civic body but also the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may not have completed nullah desilting and road repair works, the MMRDA is behind many of the much-delayed infrastructure projects that have damaged roads and added to the trouble spots in the city ahead of monsoon.

The monsoon audit conducted by a team of six experts, put together by Hindustan Times, on June 2 has shown that while the BMC’s work leaves much to be desired, the MMRDA has hardly put up a better show.

Take the ongoing work of the Versova metro station, for instance. When the experts visited the site, they found that the metro line columns had been built on top of the storm water drains on the road, so there is no way for the rainwater to flow out.

The MMRDA claims it has brought in water pumps to avoid water-logging, but the panelists are not convinced it’s a viable solution.

Apart from delays, HT panelists pointed out that Mumbai is paying the price for the lack of coordination between multiple agencies, including the MMRDA and the BMC.

“Rather than bringing in better

infrastructure, multiple agencies have led to indefinite delays. By the time the agencies consolidate and work starts, it’s too late and citizens suffer,” said Rajkumar Sharma, coordinator, Action for Good Governance and Networking in India(AGNI), and an HT panelist.

 “There are too many agencies working within Mumbai — there’s the BMC, MMRDA, Mhada, Railways, SRA. The lack of coordination between these agencies hampers the work and the blame game starts. There should be a single agency that handles these activities,” said Nandkumar Salvi, a panelist and former BMC official who used to work in the storm water drains department.

The one instance where both the BMC and the MMRDA have done a good job is with the desilting of the Mithi river.

“We completed the desilting of the Mithi river on June 7. The widening and deepening of the river will help avert severe water-logging in the surrounding localities this year,” said Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.