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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

BMC plans research centres to find solutions to Mumbai’s monsoon woes

The civic body will set up urban research centres in Borivli and Powai to study and evaluate the city’s infrastructure and improve its response to potholes and flooding.

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2018 15:05 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Experts from the centre will be able to offer permanent solutions to bad roads and ensure the city is rain-ready.
Experts from the centre will be able to offer permanent solutions to bad roads and ensure the city is rain-ready.(HT Photo)

In the coming years, the civic body may be able to ensure the monsoon remains waterlogging- and pothole-free for Mumbaiites.

In a first, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to set up an urban research centre, Centre for Excellence, in Borivli to study and evaluate the city’s infrastructure, in order to improve its response to problems such as craters and flooding. Also, another branch of the centre will come up at Powai, where other local bodies will be taught how to formulate development plan (DP), among other things. BMC has allotted ₹10 crore for the two structures.

Experts from the centre will be able to tell how much time will be taken for the water to recede, give permanent solution to bad roads and ensure the city is rain-ready. They will study the topography and average rain expected in an area to give ideas on enhancement of the infrastructure. The recommendations will be made available to citizens through a mobile phone application or a website.

Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “We have a lot of experience in operating such a large network of sewers, water supply and drainage system. Formulating the DP, too, is an experience that needs to be shared. We have gathered a lot of data over waterlogging, potholes and rain in different areas. The centre will study the data and prepare an action plan to execute the projects. It will be like an in-house think tank.”

The plan is awaiting a final nod. The civic body plans to get analysts, software developers, engineers, experts in smart cities, urban planning, disaster management, road and transport, environment and health, Indian Institute of Technology professionals and data scientists to the centre.

Rishi Agarwal, a city-based urban planner, said, “It is a welcome move. We have been suggesting this for the past two decades. A city with such a large population needs a research centre. However, this centre should allow participation of urban planners, community groups and citizens who are interested in contributing to the research.”

The researchers will have access to geographical information system (GIS) which will give them an overall view of the utilities on the map. A senior civic official said, “Our departments face a lot of roadblocks while executing civic projects. The research centre will help us with logical solutions.”

The official said countries namely Singapore and Poland have such research centres, which have helped them understand their infrastructure better.

The centre in Borivli is likely to be ready before the next monsoon.