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Parts of city may be flooded with Mithi desilting held up

The MMRDA demanded the BMC take charge of desilting of the river, the BMC has refused. Despite river works coming under the MMRDA’s ambit, it has left several projects unfinished.

mumbai Updated: Apr 27, 2012 01:52 IST

Come the monsoon, there is a real fear that parts of the city might be flooded again. Work on a crucial 6-km stretch of the Mithi river has come to a standstill, with the principal agencies involved in desilting operations - the MMRDA and the BMC - squabbling over the responsibility. The desilting of this stretch is nowhere near taking off.

The areas likely to be affected are Kurla, Bandra-Kurla complex, Kalina and Vakola - all of which suffered the most during the 2005 deluge.

For the second year in a row, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), asking it to take over all the work on the river, including its desilting.

However, in a letter to the MMRDA on April 20, the civic body rejected the latter's request.

As a result of this squabbling, no contractor has been appointed to desilt the stretch, passing through flood-prone areas such as Kurla, Santacruz and Vakola.

"The MMRDA was responsible for various works on the Mithi river, from the construction of retaining walls to building service roads and removing encroachments along the river. How can they expect us to take over while they have not completed these projects?" said LS Vhatkar, BMC's chief engineer for storm water drains.

The BMC claims that it will have to spend an additional Rs 83 crore to get these projects finished. "All these works were the MMRDA's responsibility. Not only is it shrugging off its responsibilities, but it also wants the BMC to spend its own money. Why should we take up such liabilities?" asked a senior civic official, not wishing to be named.

Although the MMRDA chief Rahul Asthana refused to respond to repeated queries, an MMRDA official, requesting anonymity, confirmed the development.

"Although no contractor has been appointed yet, we have floated tenders and will carry out the desilting work ourselves. We feel desilting is maintenance work and should hence be taken care of by the BMC."

First Published: Apr 27, 2012 01:51 IST