Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed that the desilting of major nullahs is satisfactorily completed, experts said the city would face localised flooding this year. Admitting this, Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta said so far no feasible long-term solution has been found.
Our panelists observed that even though the work on major nullahs was satisfactory, minor nullahs and connecting drains were neglected.
We never claimed that localised flooding would disappear. We can’t afford to make such a claim. It is very easy for localised flooding to occur since smaller drains get choked easily and it becomes difficult to detect such blockages. Its occurrence is difficult to stop.
With the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drains Project, the widening and desilting of major nullahs was taken care of. Many believe that, as a result, work on minor nullahs and drains was neglected. What are the long-term solutions to prevent localised flooding?
Long-term solutions for localised flooding are unviable at the moment. Our effort right now is to reduce the number of localised flooding spots to a bare minimum. One way to achieve this is to install dewatering pumps at these spots to pump water away and into the nearest major nullah.
Most panelists said that after desilting, silt is placed on nullahs’ banks in such a way that it slides back in during the monsoon.
This year, we have introduced a system of paying contractors on our dumping grounds based on the quantity of silt they bring in. Hence, it’s not in contractors’ interest to let the silt slide back in. We will ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Are you satisfied with the work? Can you assure that there will be no major flooding this year?
The flow of floodwater in major nullahs will be smooth. If the city has a normal monsoon, then there should be no problem. We are working towards it and keeping our fingers crossed.