Seven years ago, after the July 26 deluge, authorities rushed to revive a project conceived in 1993 to improve the city’s drainage system.
Now, not even 50% of the Brimstowad project is complete. Civic officials say the project may miss its 2014-15 deadline, and they may also have to spend more than the project’s current estimated cost of Rs3,900 crore.
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said, “All the works proposed in the project are likely to be completed by the next five years. Costs might escalate further if the rehabilitation of project-affected people is delayed.”
Gupta also added that there would be scope for improving the drainage network even after the project was completed. “We should undertake many other works even after it is complete; so that the Mumbai’s drains are improved. A complete overhaul of the city’s drainage network will take nearly 10 years.”
While the civic body has officially set a deadline of 2014-15 for Brimstowad, a closer look at the status of works in the project shows this deadline is unlikely to be met. Out of the total 58 projects that fall under Brimstowad, only 15 have been completed, while even the tendering process hasn’t begun for four major projects that include three pumping stations. The remaining 39 projects are currently in progress.
Civic officials said that though the detailed project report (DPR) prepared estimated that Rs 3,900 crore will be the final cost of the project, two major aspects will determine whether this estimate changes — when the four major projects take off, and how long the rehabilitation of project-affected persons takes. “We have estimated that the four projects will be constructed at this year’s rates. If they get delayed, the cost of materials will increase and so will project cost,” said a civic official. Out of the total 12,000 project-affected persons, only 1,250 have shifted to their alternative accommodation.
Nandkumar Salvi, who was the chief engineer of storm water drains when the project was conceived in 1993, said that the project was going off-track. “Inadequate planning is causing delays.” Salvi demanded an audit of the project.