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Be ready to suffer as Mumbai ill-prepared for rains

mumbai Updated: Jun 04, 2013 14:36 IST
HT Correspondent

You will likely have to wade through flooded localities and face bumpy rides as the city is ill-prepared to handle this monsoon. An audit of 17 spots across Mumbai by a panel of six experts formed by HT has pegged the overall monsoon preparedness at a mere 40% (or 4/10).

The panel found that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has a lot more work to complete and until that happens, Mumbai remains as vulnerable to flooding as ever. Civic officials claim that 74% of the desilting work is over, but at several spots it had not even begun. The experts also found that the roads — five of the 17 spots are roads — will not hold up and are likely to be riddled with potholes this monsoon.

This audit was conducted on June 1, a day after the BMC’s deadline for pre-monsoon work ended. “To ensure that the city has a flood-free monsoon, it is necessary to complete pending work on war footing,” said V Ranganathan, former chief secretary, and panellist.

Floating garbage, silt-laden drains, mounds of debris stacked along the sides, labourers where there should be machines — this is what a panel of six experts, formed by HT to audit 17 spots, found a day after the civic body was to have completed its work to prepare Mumbai for the rains.

The implication is clear: the city is likely to flood going by the state of its storm water drains. On June 1, the panel of retired bureaucrats, elected representatives and activists inspected 12 major and minor nullahs and five roads.

Desilting had not started in more than 50% of the nullahs inspected, though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation claims to have completed 74% of desilting work across the city.

“Heaps of debris remain in the nullah or along the edges,” said SN Patankar, former city engineer, BMC.

The process of desilting, which includes removing natural and manmade deposits, is important as it increases the depth of these drains and helps prevent flooding in the nearby areas.

“In some spots where contractors are supposed to do mechanised desilting to speed up the process and make it more effective, labourers are being employed,” said panelist Nandkumar Salvi, former chief engineer, storm water drains.

Former Congress corporator Sameer Desai said: “If the nullahs continue to be desilted manually, it’s unlikely that they will be rain-ready this year.”

Besides systemic failures, conflicts between governing agencies have affected pre-monsoon work. At Mithi in Bandra-Kurla Complex, a contentious stretch that had been assigned to MMRDA but will be desilted by the BMC, there was no sign of work commencing.

The river has a lot of silt, and many nullahs empty into it. “Desilting work should begin in January,” said former mayor and Sena corporator Dr Shubha Raul.

The panel found that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has a lot more work to complete and until that happens, Mumbai remains as vulnerable to flooding as ever.

Civic officials claim that 74% of the desilting work is over, but at several spots it had not even begun. The experts also found that the roads — five of the 17 spots are roads — will not hold up and are likely to be riddled with potholes this monsoon.

This audit was conducted on June 1, a day after the BMC’s deadline for pre-monsoon work ended. “To ensure that the city has a flood-free monsoon, it is necessary to complete pending work on war footing,” said V Ranganathan, former chief secretary, and panellist.

Floating garbage, silt-laden drains, mounds of debris stacked along the sides, labourers where there should be machines — this is what a panel of six experts, formed by HT to audit 17 spots, found a day after the civic body was to have completed its work to prepare Mumbai for the rains.

The implication is clear: the city is likely to flood going by the state of its storm water drains. On June 1, the panel of retired bureaucrats, elected representatives and activists inspected 12 major and minor nullahs and five roads.

Desilting had not started in more than 50% of the nullahs inspected, though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation claims to have completed 74% of desilting work across the city.

“Heaps of debris remain in the nullah or along the edges,” said SN Patankar, former city engineer, BMC.

The process of desilting, which includes removing natural and manmade deposits, is important as it increases the depth of these drains and helps prevent flooding in the nearby areas.

“In some spots where contractors are supposed to do mechanised desilting to speed up the process and make it more effective, labourers are being employed,” said panelist Nandkumar Salvi, former chief engineer, storm water drains.

Former Congress corporator Sameer Desai said: “If the nullahs continue to be desilted manually, it’s unlikely that they will be rain-ready this year.”

Besides systemic failures, conflicts between governing agencies have affected pre-monsoon work. At Mithi in Bandra-Kurla Complex, a contentious stretch that had been assigned to MMRDA but will be desilted by the BMC, there was no sign of work commencing.

The river has a lot of silt, and many nullahs empty into it. “Desilting work should begin in January,” said former mayor and Sena corporator Dr Shubha Raul.