The state government would adopt the St Petersburg model to clean the Mithi river, which brought deluge to the city in 2005 .
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said there would be collaboration on this front with St Petersburg in Russia. “We will study the model and not only clean up the Mithi but also make it navigable,” said Fadnavis.
The Maharashtra government would utilise the expertise of St Petersburg in the project. Mumbai already has sister city agreement with St Petersburg.
St Petersburg is one of main cities of Russia and has been quite successful in cleaning the Neva river. Various initiatives include series of dams, water discharge sluices as well as a tunnel. This was done to prevent flooding, which was an annual feature in St Petersburg. Fadnavis was addressing the BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave 2016, where he stressed the need to have collaboration among various cities to tackle the issue of urbanisation, which is growing at a fast pace.
“Now, the time has come to end the deliberations and take action,” he added. The three-day BRICS seminar, which ended on Saturday, saw delegates from Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil making presentations on various initiatives undertaken in their cities. The central idea is to adopt the best practices and replicate the same in other cities.
Mithi is one of the oldest rivers in Mumbai, which acts as a storm-water drain. However, the 17.8-km river has become a glorified nullah over the years because of unabashed discharge of effluents and massive encroachment on its banks.
The river originates from Sanjay Gandhi National Park and travels through areas like Saki Naka, Powai, Kurla and finally discharges into the Mahim bay. After the 2005 deluge, the state government mooted a programme to clean the Mithi river but with limited success.
An expert, however, said collaboration is fine but what is needed is a strong political will to implement the project. “The government already has a plan to clean Mithi but it is languishing because of the vested interests,” said the expert.
He cited that mangroves are being destroyed and there is hardly any check on the waste which is discharged into Mithi.