There is good news for those living along the stretch of Mithi river from Dharavi to Mahim Causeway, who face flooding every year. In a recent order, the Bombay high court has given permission to construct a retaining wall along the 1.2-km stretch where mangroves grow.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) wants to finish constructing the wall by June this year to ensure that no flooding take place during monsoon in adjoining residential areas, including the police staff colony in Mahim.
DU Gajbhiye, superintendent engineer of MMRDA, said “We had received approval from the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) in December last year. However, we were mandated to take a final approval from the HC, which we have received on March 12. We plan to start construction within the next few days.”
The planning authority is also supposed to carry out rock blasting to restore the river’s natural slope towards the sea in order to ensure better tidal movement during monsoon. While it has already carried out rock blasting of around 40 thousand cubic meter of rock where the river flows in the sea, it is yet to do the same to 1.8 lack cubic meter of rock at the 1.2-km stretch from Mahim causeway to Dharavi since it is awaiting approvals from BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the railways.
Since MMRDA needs BMC’s approval to shift utilities on patches of the stretch and permission from the railway to carry out rock blasting at places where railway lines pass over the river, it will carry out rock blasting in remaining areas in the meanwhile.
“We have already finished 85% of widening and deepening work and need to finish as much as possible before the monsoon. So we will start carrying out rock blasting on parts where we no approval is needed,” said Gajbhiye.
The project was undertaken after the July 2005 floods, to avoid future floods. While the deadline for the project was 2008, it is unlikely to be completed before this year’s monsoon.