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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Year after deluge, BMC finds micro fixes for macro issues

Civic body says it is better prepared, focuses on specific areas to prevent localised flooding.

mumbai Updated: Aug 29, 2018 05:36 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
It was on this day, August 29, last year that the financial capital of the country was brought to a standstill.
It was on this day, August 29, last year that the financial capital of the country was brought to a standstill.(Bhushan Koyande/HT)

It was on this day, August 29, last year that the financial capital of the country was brought to a standstill. The one-day deluge and its aftermath claimed 14 lives. The city had received over 300mm rain that day, with more than 200mm recorded at 26 locations.

At the time, the civic body blamed the unprecedented rainfall but, is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now better prepared to tackle heavy rainfall?

BMC had planned the Brihanmumbai storm water disposal system (Brimstowad) project that includes setting-up of eight pumping stations and 58 different works to upgrade and improve the rain-receding capacity of the city’s century-old pipelines.

Thirteen years later, five of the pumping stations are complete and BMC aims to commission the Guzderbandh pumping station before the 2019 monsoon. Two more pumping stations, Mahul and Mogra, are still on paper.

On August 29, 2017, plastic stuck in the screens of Irla pumping station, severely flooding areas of Juhu. BMC has now installed trash brooms at seven places. Hindamata, in Dadar, which has also been a sore flooding point for the civic body, is expected to get relief only by 2019. This year, by the civic body’s own admission, the area was under six inches of water on multiple occasions after the season commenced.

This is despite the area receiving nearly 31mm of rainfall in an hour, which is well within the carrying capacity of the stormwater drains.

BMC has come up with a three-part plan to construct stormwater drains covering a length of 2.4km around the low-lying area.

While citizens appreciated the move to micro-manage the issue, they have asked BMC to complete the work within the given time. “The flooding problem will always be solved by considering local topography and it is a good move by BMC. However, for successful results, BMC will have to implement, mitigation measures in a time-bound manner,” said James John, activist.

In addition, 1,425 protective grills have also been installed over manholes leading to the pumping stations, to prevent accidents. The move comes following the death of Dr Deepak Amrapurkar, who had fallen into an open manhole in Elphinstone, last year.

“Until now the approach was bigger projects, however, after last year’s flooding, we concentrated on localised flooding and the reasons behind it. We moved to micro-managing, identified local-level problems, and this has proven more effective,” said Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner.