The audit by HT’s panel of experts revealed that Mumbai was far from ready for the rains, but additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas, who heads the civic storm water drains and roads department, said the situation was not bad as it sounded.
He, however, admitted that though they could not stop water-logging at chronic spots and potholes on a few roads, the number would reduce considerably.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed 99% of the desilting work was over. But HT’s panel of experts found that the storm water drains and Mithi river were yet to be cleaned. The panel rated the city’s preparedness at 4.03 on a scale of 10.
We have taken note of the spots mentioned in the HT audit. The contractors have been instructed to immediately clean the nullahs. The problem also arises because of the slums and encroachers who throw garbage in the nullah. I have asked for daily reports from every storm water drains engineer about the work being done.
Hindmata flooded during the brief showers last week. The BMC had earlier said 70% of the water-logging woes in the area would be solved.
We have worked on increasing the capacity of drains at Hindmata to reduce water-logging. Though the work is yet to be completed, on Sunday, we managed to discharge the water within 45 minutes. Earlier it would take at least two hours. Water-logging will continue to remain a problem, but there will be a difference in relief time. We can expect complete relief only after completion of the Britannia pumping station at Reay Road.
Eighty potholes have already been reported in the pothole-tracking system. With work on several roads to be carried out after the rains, should Mumbaiites prepare for a bumpy ride this year?
We never said there will be no potholes, but we have made efforts to improve the quality of work. Even if potholes emerge, they will be on defect liability period roads, which are being maintained by road contractors for a period of time. The BMC, in such cases, will not spend any money on filling potholes on these roads.
Has the civic body taken any extra precautions this year?
We have done the pre-monsoon work and followed the master plan drafted to ensure the situation improves. We are also set to start the pumping stations – Lovegrove and Cleveland — which will reduce water-logging in the island city.
In case of water-logging or a dirty nullah overflowing, who will be responsible and what action will be taken?
The work has being done satisfactorily and we won’t see any major water-logging issues. Hence, there is no question of holding anyone responsible or taking action. We have to understand that Mumbai is reclaimed land and there can’t be complete relief from water-logging at chronic spots.