Khar Subway, Everard nullah remain a concern, say experts
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had last year started infrastructure projects worth ₹115.85 crore at Hindamata Junction and ₹20.16 crore at Gandhi Market near Matunga, two of the chronic flooding spots in the city. After the works were completed this year, the civic body claimed both these areas would not see waterlogging this monsoon, and would have a water receding time of less than 30 minutes in case of heavy rain.
While Hindustan Times’ panel of experts called these two mega projects ‘a feather in the BMC’s cap - if they serve their purpose’, they said a foolproof solution was needed at Gandhi Market.
Charles Simoes, one of the experts, said, “Floodgates must be installed immediately in JK Chemicals nullah to avoid backflow during high tide.”
These two locations were part of HT’s pre-monsoon audit on Monday when the experts along with BMC officials in-charge of the respective areas visited four waterlogging spots, two nullahs, and two arterial roads to check the civic body’s preparedness.
Experts pointed out that Khar Subway would most likely see flooding. This low- lying area, which passes below the western suburban railway line, has been witnessing waterlogging for the last three-four decades.
Vidya Vaidya, another expert on the panel, said, “The issue of waterlogging at Khar Subway can only be resolved with coordination between the BMC and the Railways. Without this, the residents of Bandra East and West will not have relief. The issue must be handled at the level of the additional municipal commissioner.”
At Chembur Circle, rains in 2017-18 had led to local residents complaining of water entering their homes.
However, a senior civic official present at the spot, said, “We have completely handled the situation here, and no complaints were received during the monsoon last year.”
The experts also found work at Everard nullah, which joins Mahul Creek, not satisfactory, and also a large amount of floating material was found in it. Besides, debris was found to have been dumped in the nullah at various locations.
D K Pathak, one of HT’s experts, said, “A noticeable amount of floating material can be seen in the nullah that can obstruct its flow. Desilting and cleaning of the nullah should be a continuous process.”
Simeos said, “There is silting at the change in direction of the nullah and urgent desilting is required. Embankment work is under way on one side. This embankment must be properly done and covered with stone pitching to avoid the loose earth from collapsing into the nullah during monsoon.”
A senior civic official present at the spot said, “Curves in any nullah are crucial points, and see maximum amount of silt deposits and floating garbage. Removal of floating garbage is a routine process. Unauthorised slums on the banks of the nullah are responsible for its accumulation, while interventions to prevent this are difficult. This nullah also has multiple hazardous utility lines flowing underneath, which makes cleaning and widening challenging.”
At SNDT nullah, where the BMC claims to have completed 100% desilting, HT found sewage from nearby shanties flowing into it, as well as floating garbage, including plastic bottles, plastic carry bags, and even wooden and plastic furniture.
“The decreased water level in the nullah indicates we have hit its bed, and there is no more scope for removing the silt. In the case of floating material, it is not possible to tackle this problem. If we leave the area unattended for even 20-25 minutes, a number of people dump their household waste in the nullah. At the Gazdarband pumping station, floating material is segregated from the floodwater before it enters the sea,” another civic official said.
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