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Mumbai’s Juhu to flood this monsoon, say locals and NGO

Cleaning of drains in six areas yet to be completed, says Watchdog Foundation

mumbai Updated: May 31, 2018 11:47 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai,BMC,monsoon
Earlier this week, HT reported that Juhu beach continues to be filthy despite a cleaning drive which removed 50,000 kg trash. (HT photo)

With less than two weeks to go before the southwest monsoon hits Mumbai, a group of Juhu residents and non-governmental organisation (NGO) Watchdog Foundation told the civic body that pre-monsoon work, such as cleaning of storm water drains and removal of debris, is yet to be completed at six locations in the area.

On Wednesday, the NGO filed a complaint with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government, claiming that only 60% of the storm water drain work was completed near Juhu Beach, Palm Gove Hotel, JW Marriott Juhu, Juhu Hotel, Juhu Military Road and Juhu Market Road. the incomplete work could lead to flooding and further aggravate trash deposition on the beach, they claimed.

Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation, said, “Even after spending ₹2,000 crore over 11 years to keep the city flooding-free, the civic body managed to complete only 70% of the work under the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drains (Brimstowad) project till 2016. Moreover, due to corruption in the work, the city was waterlogged after the first few showers in 2015, 2016 and 2017.”

He said that in 2017, several areas in central Mumbai as well as in the suburbs, including Andheri, Khar and Bandra, were flooded even before the hourly intensity of the rain increased to 50 mm, the maximum capacity of the city’s upgraded stormwater drainage system. “There is no accountability on the part of BMC in checking the work completed by their contractors, which is the primary reason why Mumbai experiences flooding year after year,” said Pimenta.

On Monday and Tuesday, HT had reported that garbage deposited by tides was choking Juhu beach and even after 50,000 kg trash was removed by BMC, the beach continues to be filthy.

Juhu resident Paul Creado – who had taken pictures of trash strewn at the beach earlier this week – identified these six major spots, took photos and submitted the details to Watchdog Foundation. The work should have completed by the second week of May, he said.

“In all six locations the storm water drainage project lies incomplete. Debris is dumped in some of the areas, pipes are leaking or the paver blocks are not in place. Closer to Juhu beach, restoration work for the storm water drain connected to the marine outfall is also incomplete, and this will further aggravate the amount of trash being deposited on the beach. Approaching monsoon has given rise to apprehensions of severe water-logging in Juhu,” said Creado.

BMC officials said they are aware of these spots and the work is expected to be completed in less than a week. “We have alerted our contractor about various spots, not only in Juhu but in other areas in the western suburbs. We will ensure the contractors expedite their efforts, and expect the work to be completed in the next five years. Flooding should not be a concern this year,” said a senior official from the storm water drains (SWD) department, western suburbs, BMC.

Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, BMC said, “We are in consultation with the SWD department, and they have told us the work will be completed in less than a week. In the meantime, work towards removing trash from Juhu has been escalated and 85,000kg was removed over the past three days. We will ensure the beach is spotless before our new contractor takes over.”

First Published: May 31, 2018 11:46 IST