Mithi’s bitter truth: Encroachers in the way of beautification of Mumbai river
The plan includes a seven-metre-wide road along the river, treatment of water, illumination, and installation of stormwater drainsmumbai Updated: Dec 16, 2017 12:39 IST
Even as widening and deepening of Mithi River has been moving at a snail’s pace, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with plans for its beautification. The project, however, has one hurdle – 1,528 illegal structures along the course.
Last month, the civic body demolished 700 structures along the river at Andheri (East), Bhandup, and Kurla (East). The BMC last week razed 272 structures from Andheri (East), 270 from Bhandup and Powai and 158 from Kurla.
The beautification plan includes a 7-m wide road along the river, treatment of water, illumination, and installation of stormwater drains. At some intervals, the civic body also plans to create small gardens.
Every monsoon, the encroachments pose a major challenge in desilting Mithi, as people dispose of garbage and sewage directly into the river.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta in his recent monthly meeting set a deadline of March 2018 to begin the beautification work. The civic body had also planned to set up a sewerage treatment plant at Mithi River to control the direct discharge of sewerage. This year’s civic budget made a provision of Rs24 crore for such plants.
“Firstly, we want to improve the quality of water, which is currently contaminated with sewage, domestic and industrial waste. After that we need to build service roads on both sides of the river and keep it encroachment-free,” said V Khandkar, chief engineer, solid waste management department.
The river, which originates at Vihar Lake, passes through areas namely Powai, Saki Naka, Kurla, Kalina, Vakola and BKC and culminates at Mahim creek. Its width varies between 25m and 75m and covers a distance of approximately 17km.
One of the longest rivers in the city, Mithi came under the spotlight after it flooded during the heavy rain on July 26, 2005. The BMC and Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) then took up cleaning, deepening and widening of the river that was filled with silt, garbage and sewerage.