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Six Mumbai civic body projects see 42% hike in cost within a year

While the total cost of six projects estimated in 2017 was Rs11,789 crore, it has now risen to Rs16,747 crore.

mumbai Updated: Feb 25, 2018 23:56 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
BMC,Mumbai news,civic body
Addition of new components led to the jump, say officials.(HT File)

Within one financial year, the cost of six major projects being carried out by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have witnessed nearly a 42% jump.

The projects include Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP), upgradation of four civic hospitals and construction of two water tunnels under the 24x7 water supply project. While the total cost of six projects estimated in 2017 was Rs11,789 crore, it has now risen to Rs16,747 crore.

The budget estimate for MSDP has been hiked to Rs14,368 crore in 2018-19 from Rs9,845 crore in 2017-18. The MSDP was announced in 2006 with an aim to upgrade the sewerage system and included construction of seven sewage treatment plants at a cost of Rs2,300 crore.

S Narkar, former chief engineer for MSDP, said, “Over the past one year, several new components have been added to the project. In 2016, we decided to give preliminary treatment. Now we plan to give secondary and tertiary treatment at the sewage treatment plants.”

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change gave its final nod for setting up of the new plants to treat sewerage being released into the sea, in November 2017.

Another civic official said, “Currently, work on the Colaba water treatment plant is nearing completion, whereas tenders for plants at Worli and Dharavi areas have been floated.”

According to the BMC, Mumbai generates about 2,100 million litres of sewage daily, of which 1,700 million litres can be reused for non-potable use. The project involves treating sewage ,reusing it, which will save millions of litres in city’s reserves.

Similarly, the cost of facelift of four civic hospitals – Bhagwati, Cooper, Leprosy and Shatabdi – has been hiked to Rs1,369 crore from Rs1,219 crore last year. Additional municipal commissioner IA Kundan said, “We considered increasing the bed strength from 323 to 490 at Bhagwati hospital. We also made additions in revamp of other hospitals, which is why the cost hike.”

Moreover, the cost of two major tunnels from Amar Mahal to Trombay and Amar Mahal to Wadala has increased from Rs725 crore to Rs1,010 crore.

A senior civic official from the hydraulics department said, “The cost of tunnel boring machines was estimated in 2016 according to existing rates. However, demand for these machines has increased with projects such as Metro in progress. This has led to cost escalation.”

Rajkumar Sharma, coordinator of action for good governance and networking in India (AGNI), an NGO working for accountability in governance, said, “I fail to understand the years of delay for up-grade of sewage disposal plants. The civic administration has a lethargic attitude. They say it is a huge project and there are several factors like clearances and consultation that need to be taken into consideration, but a decade-long delay clearly states that there is no seriousness about the project. The BMC is fooling the citizens by delaying the project and increasing its cost every year, which is eventually being burdened upon the taxpayers.”

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 23:55 IST