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Gave Railways ₹11.85 crore for cleaning drains, no audit yet, says BMC

Railways claims to have completedthe desilting of drains, while the BMC says the work remains incomplete.

mumbai Updated: Jun 02, 2017 09:48 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
(Picture for representation)

The monsoon season is upon us once again and with it the annual blame game between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Railways.

And the argument also remains the same.

The cleaning of the rainwater drains under the tracks: Railways claims to have completed it, while the BMC says the work remains incomplete.

The Central Railway (CR) has 71 drains and culverts on its main line and the harbour line and the Western Railway (WR) has 43 drains and culverts running under its tracks. Every year, by March, the BMC pays the railways to get the drains and culverts passing under the tracks cleared of silt.

This year, the BMC took first strike and said Railways have presented no accounts for the money paid to them to desilt the rainwater drains under their jurisdiction.

The BMC claimed that since 2015, it had paid Rs11.85 crore to Railways to get the drains cleaned before monsoon.

The civic body also claimed authorities have failed to give an audit report for the past decade to the BMC. This also means the civic body has no proof of the desilting work undertaken by Railways every year.

In 2017, the BMC claims it has paid Rs4.15 crore — Rs2.79 crore to the Central Railway (CR) and Rs1.36 crore to the Western Railway (WR) for desilting.

Railways, however, have refuted the claims.

AK Jain, senior public relations officer of CR, said, “We have checked with the departments concerned. Not only has every penny been audited, we have also sent the reports. Every year, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) also conducts an audit on Railway accounts.”

Ravindra Bhakar, public relations officer of WR, said, “We have been sending the audit reports to the BMC. We have received their letter to send a consolidated report, which we will be doing shortly.”

Every year, when the rains hit the city, the tracks are filled with water causing delays and forcing authorities to suspend services, which is a lifeline for lakhs of commuters, who use it daily.

The civic body undertakes annual desilting work to clear major and minor nullahs of silt. Until May 30, the BMC completed 73.62% desilting in the island city, 85.90% in the western suburbs and 91.76% in the eastern suburbs.

The BMC has also paid more than Rs40 crore to the Railways to execute various works under the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (Brimstowad) project to prevent increased flooding in the city over the past 15 years. A civic official from the storm water drains (SWD) department of the BMC said, “We have been writing to them every year to send us an audit report, but we have got no replies. Despite reminders, the works under Brimstowad are also pending.”

This year, the BMC has identified 66 chronic flooding spots where water will take a longer time to recede. These spots also include railway stations.