Three years after the project was initiated, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally replaced the collapsing British-era drains under the arterial Peddar Road to prevent any further cave-ins.
In 2012, a survey had been undertaken to check the drain network running under Peddar Road following cave-ins that had caused major traffic disruptions.
It was then decided that the entire drainage network under the road would have to be overhauled. The civic body has finally replaced the old closed pipe or dhapa drains under Peddar Road.
The rest of the island city, however, still has roads that are in danger of caving in because of the dilapidated drain network that runs under them. Work on overhauling the entire drainage network in south Mumbai was initiated in 2010.
Five years later, only 30% of the city’s 82-km, colonial-era network of arched drains has been strengthened. A survey of the Peddar Road drain network was conducted separately two years later because the type of drainage along the road is different from the rest of the island city.
Every time there is a cave-in in the island city, civic officials say nothing can be done until the old drains are repaired or replaced.
The major areas of concern for the civic body are two kinds of drains, the arched/box drains and the dhapa drains.
Most of the British-era drains in south Mumbai are in decrepit condition, requiring urgent repairs or replacement. These drains, made of brick masonry, have become dilapidated because of wear and tear over the years.
According to civic officials, “Fixing them is a complex exercise. Once the rehabilitation work is complete, the life of drains will increase by 50 years.”
“We will soon issue tenders for another six roads where the strengthening of drains needs to be immediately taken up. We are in the process of surveying other roads too, but they are not a priority yet,” said Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer, storm water drains department.