Residents of Dadar, Mahalaxmi and Worli can expect a flooding-free monsoon this year. For, after a nine-year wait, the two pumping stations at Worli -- Lovegrove and Cleveland – are set to be operational in two months.
A pumping station helps in flushing out water from nullahs during the monsoon, and the special gates at the station restrict the flow of seawater into the drains during high tides, preventing flooding. The Lovegrove pumping station will prevent flooding in Mahalaxmi and Worli, while the Cleveland station will provide relief to Dadar (West) and Elphinstone Road residents.
“The only challenge now is Hindmata, parts of Parel and Byculla which, too, will be solved once the Britannia pumping station becomes operational,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, who heads the stormwater drains department.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced the Brimstowad project to construct eight pumping stations after the 2005 deluge. The slow pace of the project, however, ensured its cost escalated to Rs4,000 crore from Rs1,200 crore. Nine years after the idea was proposed, only two of the pumping stations are ready, while four are still under construction. The other two are yet to take off.
The work on the two pumping stations at Worli, too, was stuck for three years, and took off only after the BMC intervened. “The company in charge, Unity Infraprojects, was facing financial issues. We had to assure the spare part dealers that the company will clear their dues later. The BMC released a major percentage of the contract cost even before the project was commissioned,” said a civic official, refusing to comment on whether action would be taken against the firm for the delay.
Blaming the BMC, Kishore Avarsekar, chairman and managing director of Unity Infraprojects Ltd, said, “In case of Cleveland, the land allotted to us was encroached upon. In Lovegrove, too, there were issues related to the handing over of the plot. The slow decision-making process cost us four years. By then, the markets had become sluggish and we faced financial constraints. According to the tender conditions, the BMC was to pay 70% of the amount as soon as the material reached the site.”