Will Mumbai flood this year too? BMC starts to find solutions
With the rains just a couple of months away, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has swung into action to ensure Mumbai’s streets do not flood.
The civic body’s primary focus this monsoon will be the drains that are likely to get clogged owing to silt and muck from the Metro construction sites in different parts of the city. In a review meeting on Saturday, civic chief Ajoy Mehta asked additional municipal commissioner Pravin Darade to coordinate with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) – nodal agencies for Metro projects in the city – to discuss an action plan to prevent waterlogging and flooding caused by choked drains.
The agencies together will help identify locations where lose soil and muck from the Metro work is likely to enter the drains, and suggest precautionary measures.
“We have asked our officers to take regular and timely updates to ensure silt and muck is disposed off properly and does not lead to flooding,” a BMC official said, on condition of anonymity. A spokesperson from MMRDA said “they will extend full cooperation to BMC”, while MMRCL refused to comment.
The BMC had received flak last year for flooding in south Mumbai – Hutatma Chowk, Vidhan Bhavan and Cuffe Parade – where water logging is not a common phenomenon. Most of the areas where the flooding happened were near the construction sites of the underground Metro-3 line (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz). The civic body then wrote to MMRCL in June, pointing out that their flood mitigation measures were “inadequate”.
On Saturday, Mehta also took stock of the desilting work on storm water drains (SWDs). Mumbai has a network of 276.02km of major SWDs and 438.09km of minor SWDs. According to BMC estimates, the major SWDs have 3,34,762 tonnes of silt, of which, it has removed 1,48,664 tonnes until April 30. Similarly, of the 2,06,185 tonnes of silt in minor SWDs, it has cleared 41,925 tonnes until April 30, and is working on clearing the rest.
The civic chief directed the 24 wards to take action against dilapidated or dangerous buildings before the monsoon. According to BMC, there are 619 buildings that fall in the C1 category – buildings that are considered most dangerous to live in, and are vacated and demolished.
He also asked the staff to “fast forward the process” while taking stock of work done to mitigate flooding at chronic flooding spots, and manholes that need to be covered and secured.
Activist Godfrey Pimenta said coordination between agencies working towards improvement of infrastructure is the need of the hour. “Flooding and other monsoon-related problems will only stop when there is greater coordination between agencies on ground. Otherwise, we will see a repeat of 2018.”