Even five years after the overhaul project was initiated, only 30km of Mumbai’s 82-km colonial British-era drain network has been strengthened. This effectively means the threat of cave-ins is looming large over most of the island city.
The overhaul of the drainage network in south Mumbai was initiated in 2010. Based on a survey, the BMC had zeroed in on the 82-km network that needed urgent repairs. Soon after the survey, the civic body, in October 2010, started the process. In 2012, civic officials claimed the project would be completed in three years. However, it is still to reach the half-way mark.
“We will soon issue tenders for other roads in Dadar and Marine Lines, where the strengthening of drains needs to be taken up on priority. The work will start after the monsoon. We also plan to take up other roadside drains, but at a later stage,” said Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer, storm water drains department.
After the heavy rain over the weekend, two major cave-ins have been reported in the island city, of which one was because of the collapse of a dilapidated sewage line outside Churchgate station. “Repairing the drains is a complex exercise. Once the project is completed, the life of the drains will increase by 50 years.”
The major areas of concern for the civic body are two kinds of drains -- the arched/box drains and the closed pipe drains. Civic officials claim they have undertaken the replacement of various closed pipe drains.