You can expect a lot of silt to accumulate in Mumbai drains over the next three months. With the civic authorities yet to take a call on the appointment of new contractors, nullahs will not be desilted any time this year.
Nullah-cleaning work was halted in June when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta ordering a probe into the pre-monsoon desilting work after the city flooded on June 19.
The BMC will not float fresh tenders as the Rs 216 crore-desilting contracts are yet to be cancelled, said senior civic officials. New contractors will be appointed only after the inquiry report on the desilting works is complete.
Also, even after the fresh tenders are floated, the appointments will take a few months. The bid process to the approval of standing committee to actually receiving work orders from the civic body will take at least three months, if not more.
A civic official, who did not wish to be named, said, “We have to cancel the earlier contracts in order to issue fresh tenders. The earlier contractors can be cancelled only after inquiring into the work done by the 32 contractors. If we call for fresh tenders now, there are chances that the same contractors, against whom the inquiry is being done, will place bids. Once after they are officially blacklisted, they cannot bid.”
While it looks like the monsoon is over, if it does rain even for a few hours, several parts of the city will be waterlogged.
Civic officials said there was no hurry to appoint new contractors as the monsoon has almost come to an end. They also blamed slum dwellers for the floating material in the nullahs and that they cannot be cleared now as contractors are not authorised to work.
An official from the storm water drain (SWD) department, who did not wish to be named, said, “Nullahs in the city haven’t been cleaned for the past three months. This means nearly 40% of the work, as per the contracts, is yet to be done,” he said.
The official added that it is up to the people now to ensure they do not dumping in the drains. “As the monsoon has almost come to an end, there is not much to be done in terms of desilting. As far as floating material is concerned, the citizens themselves need to stop dumping in the nullahs.”