Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has come down heavily on government agencies that have failed in preparing the city for flooding during the upcoming monsoon. In a meeting on Friday, he warned them of action in case of any failure on their part.
When Chavan reviewed the city's monsoon preparedness, he found that the ambitious plan of widening the Mithi river has been stuck since six years because of 663 illegal structures on the river bed or on its banks. Besides, the Central Railway hasn't cleaned 50% of nullahs along its tracks and five major culverts are incomplete. He also wondered why the city's only Doppler Radar, an advanced weather forecasting unit, isn't working to its full capacity.
Chavan warned the two agencies involved in Mithi project - Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation - that they would face action if the work is not done properly. Senior minister Narayan Rane and island city guardian minister Jayant Patil joined the CM in rapping both the agencies.
The 18-km Mithi 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.
"You don't need any permission to remove encroachments in the river. I don't understand why you are not taking hard steps," Chavan told MMRDA and BMC bosses. "The Centre government has given so much of money for the Mithi widening."
The railway officials, who attended the meeting, could not satisfy the CM on nullah cleaning, safety walls, and the public address system on trains. "I want you to use the existing public address system on trains to tell commuters about delays during the rains," he said, even as the officials offered excuses on why the system could not be put in place.
Chavan asked the National Disaster Response Force to deploy two teams in the city. He also demanded a no-objection certificate from the Indian Navy for widening the Poisor river, which had also overflown its banks during the 2005 deluge.