Mumbai on Wednesday got a whopping Rs 400 crore to rebuild its century-old storm water drainage system. The Planning Commission of India cleared Maharashtra's Rs 20,200 crore annual plan for 2007-'08, the biggest ever plan of the state.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has undertaken construction of the Rs 1,800 crore project — Brimstowad — aimed at overhauling the city's 19th century drains, which were unable to flush out flood water during the 26/7 floods in 2005.
"It will be a big push for the project," said state Chief Secretary DK Sankaran. The Centre also promised Rs 530 crore by way of grants through the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission — more than 50 per cent of which will go to Mumbai to fund its civic infrastructure projects like water supply schemes.
The annual plan outlay was cleared by the Planning Commission in a meeting with a state government delegation comprising Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Finance Minister Jayant Patil, Sankaran and other top officials.
The state delegation was happy since the commission allocated it more than what they wanted — Rs 18,139 crore. It hiked the state's plan by 36 per cent compared to last year's Rs 14,829 crore.
However, it expressed serious concern over neglect of the irrigation sector, urban poverty, poor gender ratio and the crisis in the power sector. The state is facing unprecedented power cuts with a shortage of 5,600 MW.
Despite having the highest number of irrigation projects (1229 dams alone), the state's potential at 60 per cent — lower than the national average — had been found unacceptable by the commission, said sources.
Finance Minister Jayant Patil said increased allocation was a recognition of the state's better performance. Deshmukh called it a "quantum leap" which will help the state tide over the power and the farmers' crises.