The culvert under the runway will be widened by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) but the work will start only after the rain.
This means flooding woes in the area will continue this year.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the airport operator had locked horns for over two years over the culvert widening. The MIAL was hesitant to give permission for the work because of security reasons.
This was resolved in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
“The MIAL will begin the culvert’s widening after this monsoon,” said Chief Engineer Storm Water Drains (SWD), Chandrakant Watve.
The state government has agreed to fund the work.
The widening of the culvert will prevent waterlogging in places such as Kurla, Kalina and Bail Bazaar besides the runway.
Kapil Gupta, a professor of the Indian Institute of Technology which was named as a consultant by the BMC, had submitted a report about this plan.
The report mentioned that diverting the flow of the Mithi river along the Andheri -Kurla road is not possible due to the area’s topography.
And that widening the culvert was the only option.
The culvert is 27 m wide and 4.1 m high. The culvert's width should be increased by 20 m to sustain rainfall of 120 mm an hour, says the report.
“Larsen and Toubro is doing a study on how to go about the widening work. But the timeline will be decided after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation approves the proposal,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited spokesperson.
The Chitale committee in its report in 2007 had said that the stretch of the Mithi River near Krantinagar should be widened to 100 metres downstream and 40 metres upstream and the culvert that runs under the main runway should be widened to 60 metres.
“The MIAL had also appointed its own consultants to study the plan. They also agreed to the report suggested by Gupta,”added Watve.
The civic body completed the widening of the river last year but until the culvert is widened waterlogging would continue.
“The 600 m of the river that runs under the runway is only 27 m wide and this leads to flooding in the nearby areas. Also when the Mithi swells up, water enters the runway affecting air traffic,” said a civic official requesting anonymity.
The 18-km river is a confluence of tail water discharges of Powai and Vihar lakes and was mainly responsible for the 2005 deluge in which more than 400 people were killed.
(Inputs from Soubhik Mitra)