Flooded road in Sion (file pic).
Flooded road in Sion (file pic).
BL Soni

Mumbai: Despite the ongoing Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal (Brimstowad) project which is supposed to prevent flooding in the chronic waterlogging areas, the Maximum City yet again experienced unprecedented flooding this year, especially in south Mumbai. This has prompted the BMC's Storm Water Drain department to re-study this chronic flooding spots and how flooding can be prevented there.

The department will be studying chronic flooding spots like Nana Chowk, Lalbagh, Parel, Hindmata and Byculla etc.

The civic authorities may have blamed unprecedented rainfall for disrupting normal life in Mumbai even this year, but experts have blamed an unfinished drainage project for the chaos the city faces every year. The Brimstowad project, which was started after the 2005 deluge that killed 1094 people, is aimed at overhauling Mumbai’s 19th-century drains. It is yet to be completed. The Mumbai civic authorities have stated several reasons for the delay, including encroachment and litigation.

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 the 1990s, it came to fruition after the 2005 deluge that paralysed Mumbai.

Experts say that BMC must finish the project on a war footing to prevent the city from coming to a standstill every year. Of the 58 works of widening drains and augmenting the drainage planned over two phases, 27 have been completed until 2019, and rest remain unfinished, according to the BMC flood guideline report, 2019.

Civic officials have blamed encroachment along the drains as a major reason for the delay.

Every year during rains in areas like Dadar, Hindmata, Sion, Kurla, King's Circle and Matunga get flooded. Citizens have to wade through waist-deep water in these areas almost every year in monsoon when it rains heavily.

During heavy rain in August and September this year, water in some of these areas took seven to eight hours to recede. Hence BMC will be studying these areas and find solutions to prevent flooding. "For instance, rain-water from hilly areas around Nana Chowk flows down and logs in the area, leading to heavy flooding. This year too the area was flooded for hours, we managed to pump out the water but residents were inconvenienced. We want to study and find a solution for a quick way out for water to recede," said a senior BMC official.

Under Brimstowad project capacity of the drains increases from withstanding 25mm to 50 mm rainfall per hour, according to officials. On Monday, Mumbai's western and the eastern suburbs received an average rainfall of 329 mm and 309 mm.

The cost of Brimstowad project was estimated to be Rs 1,200 crore in 2006, it has now crossed over Rs 4,000 crore, according to BMC reports.

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