With an eye on the civic elections to be held early next year, the annual pre-monsoon storm water drains desilting drive has assumed political significance. While the opposition is raising questions on the city’s monsoon preparedness, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday surveyed the work at three nullahs in the city and applauded the civic administration for being vigilant.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has just 10 days to complete more than 50% of the pending desilting work. Thackeray took a dig at ally BJP, saying the party will not blame the Sena as both the parties have been partners in power in the civic body for the past 20 years. Trying to score over each other, the BJP has been blaming the Sena for incomplete pre-monsoon work in the city.
Thackeray, along with civic chief Ajoy Mehta, visited Irla, Mogara and Oshiwara River nullahs on Thursday afternoon. During the inspection, silt was found to be dumped on the sides of the nullahs and also on the road. According to civic sources, Mehta has asked the solid waste department officials to transport the silt. The Irla nullah has hardly been desilted and the work was on when Thackeray and Mehta visited the spot, said local corporators.
Thackeray said the nullahs were desilted even last year, but transportation of silt and shoddy dumping led to problems. “The percentage of work done so far doesn’t matter, as the BMC is much more active. If there is no natural calamity and with support from citizens, there will be less waterlogging this year,” he said.
Opposition leader in the BMC Pravin Chheda (Congress) visited the Britannia pumping station, while NCP city chief Sachin Ahir visited the nullahs in the eastern and western suburbs. “It is sad that the Sena chief only visited spots where the work was on, instead of surveying areas that need to be desilted. We have instructed civic officials to complete the work before May 31 failing which, we will make sure the silt is dumped outside the offices of the civic chief and ruling party leaders in the BMC,” he said.
Meanwhile, CM Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday directed the railways to make necessary arrangements to ensure commuters do not suffer owing to waterlogging. The directions were during the meeting of the state disaster management authority. It was attended by officers from the Army, Air Force, Navy Indian Coast Guard, NDRF, BMC and railways.