Pre-monsoon drain-cleaning unsatisfactory, say politicians | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Pre-monsoon drain-cleaning unsatisfactory, say politicians

May 24, 2024 09:11 AM IST

Bandra MLA and BJP leader Ashish Shelar, who reviewed the nallah-cleaning in Mumbai, said that he had found the work inadequate

MUMBAI: Legislators from both the ruling party and the opposition have expressed displeasure at the incomplete and unsatisfactory nallah (drain)-cleaning efforts undertaken by the BMC this year.

BMC chief Bhushan Gagrani inspects nallah at Vakola and Mithi River on Thursday
BMC chief Bhushan Gagrani inspects nallah at Vakola and Mithi River on Thursday

Bandra MLA and BJP leader Ashish Shelar, who reviewed the nallah-cleaning in Mumbai, said that he had found the work inadequate. Pointing out that the BMC’s parameter of volume of silt removed was not valid since the bases of large nallahs are not made of cement-concrete, leading to uncertainty about their depth, he demanded that the BMC disclose the depth of all the nallahs. He also suggested that the length of the nallah cleaned be taken into account. Shelar said that he had made several requests to BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani to conduct a site visit.

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The MLA then criticised Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray for not addressing the issue over the past 25 years and now blaming the current government for incomplete work. He also called for a white paper on the disposal site of the silt, reportedly a plot in Vasai. “The BMC is very eager to collect property tax from Mumbaikars but fails to clean nallahs effectively,” he said.

Samajwadi Party legislator Rais Shaikh too has demanded a thorough review of the nullah-cleaning works in the city and called for severe action against contractors for their laxity and failure to carry out the works properly. Shaikh wrote a letter to Gagrani on the issue on Wednesday.

In his letter to the civic chief, Shaikh stated that a large number of BMC officers and employees were engaged in election duties for the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. “As a result, the annual pre-monsoon nullah cleaning works have not been carried out properly,” he wrote. “Hence, there is a fear of potential waterlogging incidents in the city during the monsoon. I urge the civic administration to carry out an extensive review of nallah-cleaning works and take severe action against the contractors responsible for irregularities and negligence… Since the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted above-normal rainfall this year, the BMC needs to be more vigilant about waterlogging.”

The SP legislator further demanded that the BMC carry out a detailed review of the current status of the pumping station works in the city. “The BMC must make this information public to the citizens to reassure them what work has been carried out,” he said.

After seeing the flak on social media, Gagrani paid a surprise visit to inspect the desilting work on the Vakola river and Mithi river on Thursday. He examined the desilting of the Vakola river from the bridge at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, receiving detailed information about the process. The work at this location is utilising the Poclain long boom excavator. Officials explained that they were continuously removing floating waste and sediment coming upstream from the nearby Bharat Nagar slum colony.

Gagrani inspected the desilting and river-widening work as well as the construction of a protective wall at the Mithi river junction. The north side of this location marks the boundary of H East ward while the south side marks the boundary of L ward. Officials informed the civic chief that the widening of the river on the southern side was pending due to ongoing litigation. The civic chief then directed that the constructions should be removed following the court order and that rehabilitation should be carried out after verifying eligibility.

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