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Money flows for city drains

Finally, Mumbai’s 19th century drains will get the much-promised makeover, report Aloke Tikku & Ketaki Ghoge.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2007 01:05 IST
Aloke Tikku & Ketaki Ghoge

Finally, Mumbai’s 19th century drains will get the much-promised makeover. Thirteen years after the Brimstowad report — touted as the only solution to the city’s floods — was submitted, the project will now get implemented completely.

On Thursday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh put its seal of approval to fund the project at Rs 1,200 crore from the central exchequer. The Centre, however, has made it clear that the state should not expect any more money from it if the cost rises.

Singh had committed to fund the project after the July 2005 deluge.

However, one of the biggest hurdles in speedy implementation of the project is the rehabilitation of over 20,000 project-affected families. This cost of rehabilitation — Rs 600 crore — will have to be borne by the state.

The city’s drainage system is over 100 years old and is now designed for rainfall intensity of 40 mm per hour. Improving of the drainage system to handle rainfall intensity up to 90 mm per hour would reduce flooding and save losses of Rs 1,550 crore every year because of the floods.

While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has implemented 30 per cent of the Brimstowad project in a piecemeal fashion over the last 10 years, major work like construction of high-power pumping stations of international standard will begin this October.

“The funds will come over the next three years, Rs 400 crore per year. We hope to get rehabilitation funds sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission,” said BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.