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Mega projects, great expectations

The civic body has put aside one-fourth of its budget towards the top five major projects that are said to change the quality of life of an average Mumbaikar, reports Sayli Udas Mankikar.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2009 15:05 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

With the Rs 20,000 crore lined up towards a flood-free Mumbai, 24X7 water supply, pothole-free roads… the civic budget never seemed better.

The civic body has put aside one-fourth of its budget towards the top five major projects that are said to change the quality of life of an average Mumbaikar.

The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drains project, which takes the highest chunk of money, will revamp the entire city drain system touted to solve Mumbai’s flooding. The Middle Vaitarna project that follows closely will add 455 MLD of water to the existing 3,350 MLD ensuring taps do not go dry in the city.

Over Rs 1,000 crore of the budget is being diverted towards making the roads pothole-free and over Rs 400 crore will take care of sewerage disposal.

And lastly for a city, which is bursting at its seams, the Kanjurmarg dumping ground that will take care of half of the 8,000 metric tonnes of waste produced by the city everyday, scheduled to begin last year has been lined up again with over Rs 100 crore allocations.

But all these projects come with a rider - none of them will get completed anytime soon.

“Most of the projects lined up are those which make a difference to the life of citizens and right now we are determined to complete them,” said Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak. Of the five, three of them are lined up out of financial commitment under the central government’s urban renewal mission meant for rebuilding basic infrastructure of big cities, with funds from central, state and local governments. And for the others, experts are not sure if they are realistic.

“The money is not used where it is necessary because there is no specific planning mechanism adopted. The in-house capabilities have to be improved in the road department for better roads and to meet deadlines,” said N.V. Merani, chief of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (Roads).