The Dharavi nullah in Dadar after a cleaning in May.(Praful Gangurde)
The Dharavi nullah in Dadar after a cleaning in May.(Praful Gangurde)

HT Monsoon audit: Is Mumbai rain-ready this year? Not really

While BMC’s pre-monsoon work was slightly better this year, Mumbai is still not adequately prepared for the rains
By Eeshanpriya M S | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2018 11:45 AM IST

As the city prepares for another season of rain, here’s a bit of good and bad news.

While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) annual exercise of cleaning nullahs and repairing roads improved this year, Mumbai is still not adequately prepared for the rains.

Hindustan Times conducted its annual monsoon audit on June 2, with the help of four experts and activists. The panel studied the BMC’s pre-monsoon work at nine of the city’s stormwater drains and five main roads. HT’s panel included two former BMC officials, a citizen activist and a road engineering expert.

Their verdict was unanimous — the work carried out by the BMC was better than before, but it has not completely prepared Mumbai to handle this year’s monsoon.

In a three-part series, HT will reveal the findings of the audit. The panel has assessed the pre-monsoon work on a total of 10 points each.

Despite the BMC’s claim of completing 99% of the nullah desilting work, and 95% of its annual road repairs, HT’s panel gave Mumbai’s readiness a score of just 6.1. Work on storm water drains scored 6.3 out of 10; road works scored an average of 5.9. While these scores are better compared to HT’s audit in 2017, the work may still not be enough to ensure a smooth monsoon.

The first part focuses on the four main nullahs in the eastern suburbs, Dharavi, Chunnabhatti, Somaiyya and Rafiq Nagar.

HT also visited the Mithi River near Krantinagar, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Chamdawadi, and Rasraj nullahs in the western suburbs, as well as the LIC nullah at Milan subway.

Among the major link roads the panel studied are Babasaheb Ambedkar Road at Dadar, Sion Mahim Link Road, Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link road, SV Road and Andheri Kurla road.

Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said his officers did their best to ensure the city is monsoon ready. “We have identified several local flooding spots and the work here for this year is complete.”

The good news this year: the Mithi river — one of the main reasons for the disastrous floods of 2005 — has been widened and cleaned and has less floating garbage.

The bad news is that you are unlikely to get a smoother or safer commute on the roads, with potholes sprouting soon after the first few showers.

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