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Pump up the effort

mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2010 00:50 IST
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If Hindmata, Mahim, Matunga, Crawford Market, Byculla and Grant Road get flooded this monsoon, you can blame the Brihanmumbai Municipal Coporation (BMC) for it. For, even though two pumping stations — at Haji Ali and Irla Nullah — are ready, two others that could’ve kept the areas mentioned above flood-free are stuck in red tape.

The BMC had, as part of the Birhanmumbai Storm Water Drain (Brimstowad) project, proposed eight pumping stations. In the first phase, four were to be ready by 2008. But, only two are in place. Work on the other two — at Love Grove and Cleave Land Bunder, both at Worli — hasn’t even begun.

Phase 2 of the project — pumping stations at Britannia Outfall at Reay Road, Gazdarband at Santacruz (West), Mogra Nullah at Andheri (West) and Mahul Creek — hasn’t even reached the tendering stage. As a result, Reay Road, Kalachowkie, Khar (West), D.N. Nagar and Veera Desai Road will be flooded every time it rains hard for a few years at least.

C.K. Vhatve, chief engineer (stormwater drains) and in-charge of construction of the pumping stations, said: “Work on the Worli pumping stations is stalled because of encroachment and change in land reservation. We haven’t been able to acquire land at both spots.”

Vhatve declined to set a deadline for the projects. “When they are yet to take off, how can I set deadlines?” he said.

He claimed that work on pumping station at the Britannia Outfall was being expedited. “We are in talks with the Mumbai Port Trust as we need some of their land. We will acquire the land in a month’s time; the tendering process will follow.”

How do pumping stations help?

They serve a dual purpose. First, their gates ensure that seawater doesn’t flow into the drains during high tide. Generally, heavy rainfall combined with high tides spells disaster because seawater floods into the drains, not allowing the floodwater to flow out. Second, they have high capacity pumps, which mean floodwaters can be sucked off the roads and discharged into the sea faster. The Haji Ali pumping station, for instance, can pump out 36,000 litres per second, while the one at Irla can pump out 48,000 litres per second.