A committee of the Union Cabinet on Thursday put its formal seal of approval on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise to spend Rs 1,200 crore from the central exchequer to overhaul Mumbai’s nineteenth century storm water drainage system.
Singh had committed the central government to funding the project after torrential rains flooded the country’s financial capital in July 2005.
Another spell of heavy showers last month submerged the city again, this time the high court told the authorities to ensure that there was no water-logging next monsoon.
Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy said the storm water drainage project approved on Thursday would be operationalised within four years. The clearance for the project – that is estimated the save losses of Rs 1,550 crore every year due to floods – came at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Manmohan Singh.
He said the approval for assistance to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation would enable the civic authorities to immediately start work. The first instalment of Rs 400 crore has been released.
The city’s drainage system is more than 150 years old and was designed for rainfall of 25 mm per hour. An official statement said improvement of the drainage system for higher rainfall intensity reaching up to 100 mm per hour with a higher run-off coefficient would reduce the incidence of flooding in the Mumbai.
The improvement of the Storm Water Drainage System in Mumbai – as approved by engineering experts at the urban development ministry would cost about Rs 1,200.53 crore. The state government would have to bear the cost of operations, maintenance as well as relief and rehabilitation of the project-affected families.
The Centre has also made it clear that the state government or the municipal corporation should not expect any additional funding from the centre in case of cost escalation. The Centre, along with the state government, would, however, monitor implementation of the project by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to ensure its timely completion.