Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has completed about 83 percent of the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal (BRIMSTOWAD) project since its inception, claims civic officials. The project was launched in 2005 to prevent floods under which the civic body planned to augment drainage, construct new drains and widen and de-silt nullahs to increase their capacity.

Although the project was the result of a committee report submitted in 1990s, it came to fruition after the 2005 deluge that paralysed Mumbai. The BMC had identified 58 priority works to increase the water-carrying capacity of city drains to 55 mm per hour.

Of these, only 28 such works have been completed, and 27 other works are in progress. A civic official said although less than half of the works had been completed, about 83.5 percent of the nullahs had been widened. Chief engineer (storm water drains) VH Khandkar said one of the major causes for delay in the project is encroachment along the drains. “Removing encroachments and relocating people is a slow process. Removing bottlenecks under railway lines are also difficult, but we have gotten a lot of support from the Railways this year,” he said.

According to an official of the storm water drains department, the capacity of drains has been increased to 30-35 mm an hour from 25 mm. The BMC data also revealed that the cost of implementing BRIMSTOWAD has increased to Rs 3,190 crore from Rs 1,200 crore over the decade. “This is an endless project as we have to keep working on the entire storm water drain network,” said Khandkar.

Meanwhile, Mumbaikars are unconvinced and feel the city is not yet ‘monsoon-ready’. “We have seen projects after projects each year but nothing has ever come out of it. Although there has been a slight improvement since 2005, we are nowhere close to ready for the monsoon,” said Jignesh Kumbharwala (38), a Girgaon resident.

Another Andheri resident said he has a gnawing feeling that the city might witness more potholes and tree collapses than previous years. “Without sounding pessimistic, I feel we should be ready for bad circumstances and not rely on corporation’s claims,” said Sanjeeva R.

BMC identifies 225 flood-prone areas

BMC has identified a total of 225 flood-prone areas, including 60 chronic ones that flood annually, in the city. Of the 225 areas, 17 are currently congested due to construction under the public works department, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the railway authorities among others.

Most flood-prone spots determined by BMC:

Bandra (East)
Goregaon (West) and
Borivli (West)

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