Though delayed by almost a month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will place three proposals to buy equipment, which could help prevent flooding in case of heavy rain, before the civic standing committee on Wednesday.
Tenders for the purchase of additional dewatering pumps, reserve vacuum pumps for suction plants that draw muck from drains, and repair of gates at the Cleveland Bunder outfall in Worli will be placed for approval before the civic standing committee on Wednesday.
Though seen as a welcome move, activists said these steps should have been taken earlier. “In the absence of heavy rain, so far, the city hasn’t witnessed flooding this season. But, in any case, the BMC should have procured the equipment and installed it at spots prone to flooding. They shouldn’t have waited for so long,” said Anandini Thakoor, a civic activist from Khar.
Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator from Bandra, said: “The move is definitely an afterthought. There has been a delay in placing the proposals. With flooding after heavy rain being a persistent problem in low-lying areas, we also need to find a permanent solution to it.”
Civic officials, however, maintained that 222 dewatering pumps have already been installed in the city. The additional pumps are being procured to fulfill the additional requirement that has arisen. “Many ward officers and corporators have approached us demanding more pumps for their areas. We have called for the equipment only as a precautionary measure,” said an official from the stormwater drains department on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Corporators feel that dewatering pumps prove to be ineffective during flooding because of incompetent operators. “Contractors often say they are running short of diesel to run the pumps. With untrained operators, relief from flooding continues to remain elusive,” said Pravin Chheda, corporator from Ghatkopar.