New construction to start, but BMC still struggles with debris | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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New construction to start, but BMC still struggles with debris

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 01:53 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times

Even as the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday lifted a two-year-old ban on new constructions in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is still to come up with a way to process and dispose of 1,400 metric tonnes of construction debris generated daily, the reason why the Bombay high court (HC) imposed the ban.

The ban by the HC was expected to improve management of waste in the city. However, in the past two years, the BMC has only managed to reduce the amount of waste generated daily from 9,500 metric tonnes to 7,500 metric tonnes daily. Processing of waste at both -- Mulund and Deonar landfills – has been stuck at the appointment of contractors, as the civic body didn’t get any bids in two years.

With the amount of debris expected to now increase, the civic body is preparing a new set of rules for its collection and disposal. “We will come up with guidelines for debris collection and disposal,” said Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner on Saturday.

The lifting of the ban is likely to give much-needed boost to the civic body’s revenue collection, which has seen a slump in the past two years.

Currently, the civic body has two debris dumpers each in all 24 wards that can be booked to pick up debris from the site at a fee of around Rs350 a tonne under its debris-on-call services. In addition, around 1,200 metric tonnes of waste is sent to Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds daily to cover the landfill -- a fire preventive method employed after repeated blazes at Deonar. The only debris recycling plant, which was planned on a 2.8-acre plot in Mulund, is a long way from being functional. The civic body announced the project, but it did not make any headway.

According to rough estimates, around 700 new projects were hit by the HC order city in 2016. On an average, 15-20% construction projects received by the BMC are new projects (the remaining are redevelopment, SRA). For example, in 2014-2015, of the 1,700 permissions for residential and commercial projects, 318 were for new projects.

For the past two years, the development charges that BMC accrues on various premiums (staircase and lift premiums, infrastructure charges) that it collects from builders has shown a downfall of at least Rs1,000 crore. Civic officials are now hoping the revenue will see a significant increase.

Citizen activists are demanding stern measures from the civic body.

“BMC is just playing with numbers when it says they have reduced the daily waste generation. Two years of construction ban and BMC has made no headway with processing of waste and a plant for processing of construction debris. Again, now BMC has six months to prove if the situation has improved,” said Rajkumar Sharma, an activist from Chembur.