The municipal corporation wants Mumbai to go the Singapore way and have cycling and jogging tracks along its drains.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Standing Committee, the body that takes policy decisions and plans the funding of city projects, has suggested that jogging and cycling tracks be built along open drains.
Standing Committee Chairman and Sena leader, Ravindra Waikar, during his budget proposals speech on Tuesday, said, “An area of 10 feet x10 feet will be left open along drains and cycling and jogging tracks can be comfortably developed there.”
Waikar says this will ensure land is used in a planned way and will also keep encroachers away.
Mumbai has a drainage system, which is more than 100 years old, consists 2,000 km of open drains and 440 km of closed drains. Slums encroach upon areas around the drains. This makes it difficult for the BMC to access these drains for maintenance and de-silting.
Singapore has developed jogging and cycling tracks as a part of their balanced land use programme. Their guidelines say jogging tracks should be wide enough for two people to walk comfortably, hand-in-hand.
The BMC’s budget for this year has proposed to develop a cycle track along Irla nullah by building a 2-metre wide pathway with coloured paver blocks. The corporation has made a provision of Rs 2 crore for the project.
BMC officials said the proposed cycling and jogging tracks will have be sturdy enough to be able to take the weight of the heavy de-silting machines that the corporation uses to clean the drains.
A civic official requesting anonymity said implementing the proposal would require detailed planning.
The corporation ruled out the possibility of stench from open drains putting people off.
“It is too early to comment about this but drains usually do not stink because they are always in touch with oxygen,” said an officer requesting anonymity.
“The stench begins when the water in a drain starts stagnating. But we’ll carry out de-silting regularly and ensure the water does not stagnate.”