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BMC budget 2018-19: Civic body allocates money for major infra projects, roads in Mumbai

Mumbai civic chief Ajoy Mehta, who delivered the budget on Friday, announced an allocation of Rs2,058.92 crore for the scam-hit roads and traffic department

mumbai Updated: Feb 03, 2018 00:41 IST
Mumbai,BMC,BMC budget 2018-19
Mumbai civic chief Ajoy Mehta, who delivered the budget on Friday, announced an allocation of Rs2,058.92 crore for the scam-hit roads and traffic department.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that has faced criticism over the quality of roads in Mumbai each year has marginally increased the budgetary outlay to improve them.

Mumbai civic chief Ajoy Mehta, who delivered the budget on Friday, announced an allocation of Rs2,058.92 crore for the scam-hit roads and traffic department. According to Mehta, the department has spent Rs97 crore more than its allocated sum in the 2017-18 budget.

The department has proposed to take up improvement works on two major arterial roads – SV Road and the LBS Marg. The department will take up widening projects on LBS Marg (Rs110 crore); SV Road widening with an outlay of Rs 160 crore, and constructing an additional exit from Eastern Express Highway to Mulund. Along with this, a second exit from Bhandup railway station to LBS Marg has been proposed.

The civic body also plans to construct a missing link from Rang Sharada in Bandra to Bandra-Worli sea link for better connectivity.

The work on the missing link is expected to start soon after getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA).

James John, citizen activist, said, “The problem is the roads across the city are never monitored seriously. This gives contractors a way to compromise on quality. I have seen roads that were constructed under inspection of NGOs and activists that have lasted for 10 years.”

The Rs1,700 crore-road repair scam that was unearthed in 2015, after former mayor Snehal Ambekar wrote to civic chief Ajoy Mehta alleging irregularities in road repairs, led to the sacking of four senior civic officials and arrest of third party auditors.

An inquiry into the scam revealed that irregularities were found in 234 road projects, and 96 civic officials were involved in it.

Meanwhile, civic chief Ajoy Mehta has proposed to concretise all roads in gaothan areas at a cost of Rs1 crore.

Also, in an attempt to have “disciplined parking” and to ensure “smooth traffic movement” in the city, the civic body will soon appoint full-time independent contractors to run its 135 parking sites having 24,000 parking spaces. The civic body has invited tenders for some parking sites.

Major allocations make the way smoother for GMLR, coastal road

Continuing its thrust on development of infrastructure in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allocated a major chunk of its budgetary outlay for major infrastructure projects in Mumbai.

Big-ticket infrastructure projects that have got attention include the Mumbai Coastal Road and Goregaon-Mulund link road (GMLR) that were allocated a sizable chunk of funds as well as Mumbai Sewage Disposal project (MSDP) and the proposed Waste-to-Energy plant to be built in Deonar.

The ambitious coastal road connecting south Mumbai to Kandivli has got the biggest allocation of Rs1,500 crore. The BMC has also projected that once the work starts, the project will create 10,000 jobs in the city.

In his budget speech on Friday, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “As many as 17 approvals have all been obtained for the project. We have also received bids and we plan to award the work by end of April 2018.”

The BMC has allocated Rs100 crore for GMLR, which is touted to be the most important project to improve the east-west connectivity in the city. The civic body has invited tenders for the first two phases of the project -- widening of the rail-over-bridge at Nahur and widening and improvement of the existing roads on the eastern and western end.

The BMC has also allocated Rs100 crore for development of a 39-km long cycle track between suburban Mulund and Antop Hill in Wadala along the Tansa pipeline.

To achieve 100% sewerage connectivity in the city, the BMC has proposed Rs119 crore for the Mumbai Sewerage Improvement Programme (MSIP). For construction of new sewage disposal plants under the MSDP project, the BMC has made a big allocation of Rs 538.15 crore. With construction of new plants proposed at Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Versova, Malad, Ghatkopar and Bhandup, the amount of untreated waste water in the sea will be reduced.

Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader in BMC, however, said the progress on all these projects is slow as the BMC has a track-record of poor implementation. “It is good to focus on old projects, but there should be good implementation. This is why we have been demanding that every budget report be accompanied with a implementation report to show the progress from the previous year.”

To improve the city’s waste-management practices and keeping pace with global practices, the BMC has proposed Rs110 crore for setting-up waste-to-energy plants in the Deonar dumping ground. A waste-to-energy plant is a waste management facility that combusts wastes to produce electricity. The proposed plant will process 600 tonnes of waste per day.

In an attempt to provide relief to motorists, the BMC has also proposed new bridges that include an extension to the Mrinaltai Gore flyover in Goregaon, bridge on the octroi naka in Mulund, a pedestrian bridge at Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd among others. It has proposed Rs467.92 crore for these projects.

Swapnil Rawal

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 00:41 IST