HT Monsoon Audit: Nullahs that could overflow this monsoon

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 14:01 IST

HT carried out its monsoon audit with a panel of four experts comprising two former civic engineers and two citizen activists. The panel rated the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) monsoon preparedness an abysmal 5.1 out of 10. The audit was done on Friday, June 3. It should be noted that there was a high tide during the visit leading to a backflow of water in some nullahs (stormwater drains).

Five out of the nine nullahs that the panel visited scored less than five out of 10. Most nullahs visited were filled with garbage and the desilting work was far from over, even a week after the deadline. Here is a look at how the BMC did its job this year:

Mithi River, BKC : Various major and minor nullahs flow into the Mithi River; Vakola nullah meets the river at the BKC junction. It is one of the most important rivers as its water level will decide whether the western suburbs and some parts of central Mumbai will face flooding.

What the HT panel found : Floating material in the form of shrubs were found in large numbers at the site. The panel found it to be a new phenomenon. They also said the presence of the shrubs is a clear indication that the work is incomplete at one of the most crucial sites in the city.

“Desilting work is still in progress with the machines found to be at the site. The floating shrubs found in substantial amounts have to be removed immediately.”

DK Phatak, former solid waste management engineer

Ratin g: 5.25/10

Kranti Nagar, Kurla : This is a crucial stretch of the Mithi river as it passes through the low-lying areas of Kurla and Kalina, after which it flows under the airport runway. If not cleaned, the high-population areas near the airport will be flooded.

What the HT panel fou nd: The work at this site was found to be the most satisfactory by the panel. However, some amount of floating material was still found in the nullah.

“One of the best-cleaned nullahs, however, the BMC has to complete the work of building sidewalls at the site.”

Nikhil Desai, a citizen activist

Rating: 6.25/10

Read more: The spots in Mumbai vulnerable to flooding this monsoon

Read more: Nullahs clogged, Mumbai not rain-ready yet: HT audit

Gobar nullah, near Milan Subway Santacruz (East): This nullah runs alongside the Milan subway that is a crucial east-west link connecting SV Road to the Western Express highway. The condition of desilting at this nullah is directly responsible for flooding at the subway which is vulnerable to waterlogging and witnesses heavy flooding year after year.

What the HT panel found: While one part of the nullah was found to be clean, the other part was not touched at all, experts noted. Experts also suggested increasing the carrying capacity of the nullah to avoid major inundation during a heavy downpour.

“The authorities do not seem to be bothered about one side of the nullah itself. Better preparedness can go a long way in avoiding flooding at this vulnerable spot.”

James John, an activist

Rating: 5.25/10

Somaiya nullah, Eastern Express Highway (towards Mulund): One of the biggest nullahs, Somaiya runs from Vidyavihar to Mankhurd in the eastern suburbs. It is one of the crucial nullahs to be cleaned to prevent problems in the eastern suburbs during a heavy downpour.

What the HT panel found: HT visited the spot during the high tide owing to which there were large amounts of floating material. Experts said that the desilting work at the nullah is very poor and needs to be undertaken in a swift manner.

“BMC has undertaken the desilting work only partially. The nullah needs more rounds of cleaning because of the large amount of floating material.”

DK Phatak, former solid waste management engineer

Rating: 3.25/10

Read more: Mumbai ill-prepared for monsoon woes, audit reveals

Subhash Nagar nullah, Mankhurd: Flowing from underneath the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road, this nullah carries storm water from areas of Bhakti Park in Wadala, Chembur and Chunabhatti. It connects the Thane Creek. It is also joined by another major nullah, carrying water from Vikhroli and Ghatkopar West areas.

What the HT panel found: As compared to 2015, the desilting work undertaken at the site was far more efficient. While the work of constructing sidewalls was still in progress last year, it seemed to have neared completion. Experts suggested just a few more rounds of desilting to remove floating material.

“The amount of work done seems really good. It was also efficient on part of BMC to have completed the work of building side walls at the site.”

Nikhil Desai, a citizen activist

Rating: 6.25/10

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