The city’s monsoon preparation may once again be hit by the snail-paced work of civic officials. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to award contracts to desilt nullahs in the eastern and western suburbs, with the proposal to desilt nullahs being passed by the civic panel only on Tuesday — a decision that should have been taken in January.
The desilting work should have ideally already started by the end of March. It will take a few more weeks for the civic body to decide the contractor, who might get less than a month’s time to desilt all the major and minor nullahs, a job that requires at least three months.
“It is impossible for the cleaning work to be completed in less than one month,” said Dilip Lande, a member of the standing committee, adding that the civic body did not take the issue seriously.
The authorities have claimed that the delay was due to poor response for the tender. “We had to re-tender thrice since January, due to which the process slowed down,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
Considering the lack of space at the existing dumping grounds, the proposal passed by the committee says the contractors will have to dispose of the silt in a private plot at their own cost.
However, the system was objected to by several corporators. “The contractors can play foul as they can dump the silt anywhere in the city instead of a private ground. Also, the civic body’s decision to give the contractor 10 days after the work order is issued to decide the location to dump silt is baseless,” said Pravin Chheda, another member of the standing committee.
The tussle between the Mumbai metropolitan region development authority (MMRDA) and the BMC over desilting of Mithi river may draw to a close in the next two to three days. The standing committee had written a letter to the chief minister making it clear that it will not carry out the work unless the MMRDA pays for it.