Annual Battle Against Water-Logging: New BMC Chief Bhushan Gagrani Inspects Eastern Suburbs

Annual Battle Against Water-Logging: New BMC Chief Bhushan Gagrani Inspects Eastern Suburbs

The new BMC chief, Bhushan Gagrani, visited Powai, Chembur, Kurla and BKC on Tuesday to inspect the progress of pre-monsoon initiatives and said that the completion of removing silt has been scheduled for May-end.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Tuesday, April 09, 2024, 11:02 PM IST
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Annual Battle Against Water-Logging: New BMC Chief Bhushan Gagrani Inspects Eastern Suburbs | FPJ

Mumbai: The new BMC chief, Bhushan Gagrani, visited Powai, Chembur, Kurla and BKC on Tuesday to inspect the progress of pre-monsoon initiatives and said that the completion of removing silt has been scheduled for May-end.

Gagrani said that several factors contribute to the city’s perennial water-logging woes. “Excessive rainfall, inflows from the Mithi river, burgeoning population, urban expansion, waste accumulation, industrial discharge, and sewage effluents into the Arabian Sea, collectively exacerbate the situation,” he said, adding that the city’s stormwater drainage system, designed during the British era in the 1860s, struggles to cope with challenges.

In his visit to the M-West division office, Gagrani inspected the rainwater drainage infrastructure in low-lying areas such as Chembur’s Postal Colony, where despite annual cleaning efforts, drainage issues persist. Chronic problem areas also include Shell Colony and the Chembur market road towards Tilak Nagar.

Mauli Thorave, a member of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, Chembur, said, “Every year, the BMC conducts cleaning work but it’s inadequate as Mithi river level rises and so does the level of nullah. Chemburkars face numerous issues, from traffic to water-logging every monsoon but the ward officer never even bothers to visit or attend to complaints.”

With the BMC also concentrating on silt removal from Mithi, Gagrani inspected the work at BKC and the Kalpana Cinema area. Abdul Rashid Kaptan Malik, ex corporator of the Congress from Ward L 170 in Kurla, said, “Those who choose Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg during the monsoon are trapped for hours. We witness water-logging at Bail Bazaar, Kranti Nagar, Sonapur Gully Junction, Kurla Depot Junction and Kalpana Junction. The Mithi river has never been cleaned completely, leading to persistent choking. We have been longing to see a clean Mithi for many decades now. Kranti Nagar, a slum area, faces major issues during the monsoon, worsening living conditions for residents.”

As per the BMC, 54.57% silt amounting to 1,17,970 metric tons, has been removed from Mithi. The contractual exercise is conducted biennially in two phases – 80% prior to the monsoon and 20% during/after monsoon. The target for 2024 is to remove 2,70,000 metric tons of sediment. While 54.57% work has been completed, the remaining sludge will be cleared by May 31, the BMC said.

Gagrani inspected the drain desilting work at Lakshmi Bagh, API drain, Usha Nagar drain, and Bombay Oxygen drain. Instructions were given to build protection walls, remove encroachments, and improve culvert infrastructure to reduce flooding risks.

Ashwini Matekar, former Shiv Sena corporator of Ward L 156, Powai, said, “The work to clean Mithi had begun months back and 99% work is finished every year in time. Bamandaya Pada, Ashok Nagar ,is where Mithi passes in a clean state but gets polluted later.”

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