Corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) feel the civic body will do a better job of desilting drains along railway lines than the railways.
Corporators say the BMC should do the job instead of giving the railways money do it because the railways’ work is of “poor quality”
“The BMC should do the job instead of allotting money. It will maintain quality and ensure a responsible job,” Shiv Sena corporator and legislator, Ravindra Waikar, said.
The BMC deposits a certain sum with the railways for desilting and cleaning of drains that pass under the tracks and those that lie in railway premises.
Despite this, the BMC and the railways pass the buck every year when rains delay services or cause waterlogging.
Corporators said if the BMC did the job it will ensure the responsibility lies with one agency. “We give the railways the money they ask for, but we do not know what happens after that and whether they actually clean the drains or not,” Waikar said.
Central Railway’s chief spokesperson, Shriniwas Mudgerikar, said drains lying in railway areas are part of the city’s extensive drainage network and are “not isolated”. “We are in continuous talks with the BMC and sort out issues with mutual discussions,” Mudgerikar said.
Western Railway, chief spokesperson, Sham Sunder Gupta said, “The portion in the railway area is cleaned by the railways because there are certain safety requirements that one needs to follow while working under tracks. Our staff are well-trained for the job.”
If desilting is delayed because of this squabble between the two agencies, it can lead to flooding along the tracks during the monsoon and will affect the running of trains every time there are heavy rains.
Citizen activists, meanwhile, said the BMC was no better when it comes to cleaning drains.
“Are the drains across the city clean and desilted?,” Harish T Poojary, member from an Advanced Locality Management unit in northeast Mumbai, asked. “What is the quality that the BMC is talking about? They should do their own job properly first, before taking up additional responsibilities.”
The BMC is yet to start cleaning drains elsewhere in the city. “Work should have ideally begun from April 1, but the administration has not got the proposal yet,” Waikar said.