Planning a grand facelift for the 17.8-km-long Mithi river, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has announced a whopping Rs 2,000 crore project spread over a span of four years.
The mega works primarily include stopping the rainwater from raging Mithi, entering into its low-lying environs like Sion, Chunabhatti, Kurla and Ghatkopar, and aesthetically revamping the banks.
Kickstarting on October 1, the project has been dubbed 'Mithi River Water Quality Improvement Project'. According to the plan’s blueprint, the BMC will install 26 floodgates in the river, which starts from Vihar Lake and merges with the Arabian Sea at the Mahim Causeway.
Pegged at Rs 1,300 crore, the installation of sluices is aimed at stopping the yearly inundation of the areas like Kranti Nagar, Bail Bazaar and Taximen’s Colony.
Speaking about the project, the BMC official underlined, "These floodgates will help to prevent the Mithi river water from entering the nearby residential areas, as well as, railway tracks. During high tide, the gates will prevent the entry of river water into the stormwater drain and during low tide, the gates will be opened to flow stormwater in the river."
About 6 km of the Mithi river falls under the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Authority (MMRDA), the remaining 11.8-km is looked after by the BMC.
Promenade, cycle track and other works:
The civic body has also proposed beautification work, which includes an 8.85-km-long promenade and a cycle track at the Mithi banks. "Tenders were invited for appointing contractors for the construction of gate pumps and sewer lines, diversion of nullahs into sewer networks, retaining wall, service roads and promenade between CSMT bridge to Mahim Causeway. The viewing gallery will be cantilever on the road," said BMC stormwater drainage department deputy chief engineer Vibhas Achrekar.
According to the civic officials, two separate contractors will be appointed for the execution of the project. The contractors will be responsible for operation and maintenance for the next 10 years.
Notices to 19 structures:
However, just like any other mega project, the Mithi river widening is also riddled with several nuances. Around 19 homes are coming in the project’s way and hence, the BMC has sent them notices. Located at the Mahim Causeway, General Arunkumar Vaidya marg, these houses are mostly inhabited by the fishing community, who are up in arms against the BMC’s order of demolition.
The civic body had told that a portion of their homes on the BMC land needs to be demolished. To make up for the loss, the dwellers have been allowed to construct one more floor on the remnants left after razing.
Talking to FPJ, Shiv Sena Corporator Milind Vaidya said, "These people are staying at Mahim for many generations. They do fishing and sell it in the market. Will BMC relocate them where their fishing business will not be affected?"
Mentioning that he has met the civic officials and raised the issue, Vaidya warned that if their demands aren’t met, then there will be backlash from the community in 'Sena style'.
Echoing similar sentiments, affected resident Sunita Tandel bemoaned, "We belong to the fishing community. I and my parents were born in the same area. For the last many decades, we are living here. Our homes are already small so we can’t even allow partly demolition."