Mumbai: Social activist Zoru Bathena has brought new facts around the reconstruction of Malabar Hill Reservoir (MHR). He has written a letter to Brihanmumbai municipal corporation (BMC) administrator Dr. Iqbal Singh Chahal and brought to his notice that the Water Supply Project (WSP) Department has violated the conditions of the no objection certificate (NOC) issued by the Coastal Road Department of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) in 2019.
The MHR reconstruction project is already facing opposition from residents and activists. Citizens do not want any harm to Hanging Garden and the felling of trees for the project.
Bathena has attached the NOC along with the letter. His letter stated that the Coastal Road Authority prohibited WSP from digging wells or excavating Malabar Hill because two underground tunnels of Coastal Roads are going below Malabar Hill. The MHR is situated right above the twin tunnels.
NOC for MHR
The NOC was granted based on the detailed analysis report conducted by M/s Pedankar and Associates and the peer review report by IIT Mumbai.
The NOC clearly mentioned that if there are any changes made in the reports of Pedankar Associates and IIT Mumbai, then WSP will have to seek a new NOC from the Coastal Road, which will be given after a technical analysis by the Coastal Road teams.
The said plan allowed the reconstruction of MHR in a phased manner and permitted the construction of one more compartment with a storage capacity of 23 ML without any excavation on Rocky Hill.
Zoru Bathena alleged that now, the WSP department has made changes in the audit reports of M/s Pedankar and IIT, and has extended the storage capacity up to 91 ML, requiring deep excavation on the hill, which is above the twin tunnels, a sheer violation of the NOC from the Coastal Road. The new plan will increase the load on the hill by 68,000 tonnes.
Eventually, Zoru stated, "Whichever way we see the MHR reservoir reconstruction plan, all we find is that the WSP department has planned contrary to the law, rules, and regulations, and contrary to MCGM's own safety mechanisms. The plan has disastrous consequences for the Malabar Hill environment."
Zoru demanded the scrapping of the existing plan and requested BMC to opt for the repair of MHR.