In a prime example of exactly why Mumbai is never close to rain-ready, a large pumping station proposed 28 years ago has been further delayed — and the cost driven up by Rs 10 crore — because the municipal corporation failed to spot a large bridge that would block the flow of the floodwater.
This news comes a day after 102 mm of rainfall brought the city to its knees, with waterlogging and localised flooding stalling rail, road and air travel.
The proposed Love Grove pumping station at Worli was conceived as a possible solution to the perennial monsoon waterlogging in south-central Mumbai and will eventually discharge floodwater at the rate of 3,600 cubic metres per second (cusecs).
In November 2010, when the hydraulic model for this station was being prepared, officials with the municipal stormwater drains department realised that an old bridge on Annie Besant Road, downstream from the facility, would severely restrict the flow of this water, thereby negating the effect of the station itself.
Now, the entire station will have to be moved about 100 metres upstream; in February, a fresh allocation of 4,300 sq metres was made for the project.
In addition, special water exits will have to be designed at the northern end of the 34-m road bridge, so that the floodwater pumped out can bypass the bridge.
These new arrangements have raised the estimated cost of the project — originally pegged at Rs 100 crore — by an additional Rs 10 crore.
“The change in location will result in an escalation in the project cost,” additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta admitted.
The project, which was first recommended in 1983 by international consultants Watson & Hawksley, was taken up in 2007, on the recommendation of the Chitale committee, which was examining the devastation that followed the 970 mm deluge of 2005.
The deadline for the project is now April 2013.
“The BMC hired consultants to guide them in the project, but it seems like here the consultants themselves need guidance,” said Bhalchandra Shirsat, BJP leader and chairman of the civic improvements committee. “Now, the BMC has not even started work and is already raising the cost of the project.”