Flooding in Mumbai this monsoon too? BMC says 35.64% of desilting work done, corporators say no way
BMC corporators rejected the civic body’s claim that it had completed 35.64% of the work of desilting the city’s drains by the end of AprilUpdated: May 10, 2017 10:20 IST
Corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) rejected the civic body’s claim that it had completed 35.64% of the work of desilting the city’s drains by the end of April.
According to senior civic officials, as of April 29, the civic body had removed 69,941 metric tonnes of silt from nullahs, well more than that in 2016, where the BMC had completed only 7.59% of the work.
The BMC is expected to remove 1.73 lakh metric tonnes of waste before monsoon sets in by the middle of June. Every year, BMC pushes its own deadline of May 31 to complete the desilting work.
Last week, civic officials said only 7% of the desilting work of nullahs had been completed.
Corporators across party lines dismissed the claims in the standing committee meeting of BMC on Wednesday.
Congress corporator and Opposition leader Ravi Raja said that the BMC has completed only 10% work in the F/North (Matunga), F/South (Parel), G/North (Dadar) and G/South (Worli) wards in South Mumbai.
Raja said, “The BMC has asked NGOs to remove silt from minor nullahs, but where do they have the machinery or manpower? The rains will be here in a month, but work is yet to begin in major nullahs also.”
Raja said that the BMC is yet to finalise contractors for the transportation of the silt.
With no response to BMC’s tenders after three calls, the civic body had to rely on NGOs to remove silt from minor nullahs in the city. Removing silt is an important exercise before monsoon, as it clogs the drains during heavy rains, resulting in flooding.
LS Vhatkar, chief engineer of the storm water drains (SWD) department in BMC said, “We have floated tenders for silt transportation three times, but got no responses. Now with relaxed conditions, we are hoping to finalise the contractors by next week. Till then, the transportation work is being done by BMC’s solid waste management department.”
Currently, 3.70 lakh labourers have been deployed to remove silt from minor nullahs, while 2.41 lakh labourers have been deployed to clean roadside drains, civic officials said.
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party leader said, “The richest civic body is Asia is not getting contractors to do desilting work. What can be more worrisome than this?” Abhijeet Samant, a corporator from the Bharaitya Janata Party said, “Can’t the administration begin the tender process from August itself? It is the BMC’s job to find contractors. They cannot give such replies to the city.”