The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) 130 crore ambitious project to construct the city’s first underground rainwater storage tank and drain near Hindmata has run into trouble after the Bombay High Court stayed the project temporarily. The project is aimed at reducing the problem of waterlogging in chronic flooding spots like Hindmata, Parel, Prabhadevi and Dadar, amongst others. The civic body had targeted to complete the project by June, 2021. However, the work had already slowed down following strong opposition from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and residents.
The 1,200 mm diameter rainwater drainage system was to be constructed as a pilot project. Depending upon its efficacy in monsoon, the plan would then be executed in other areas, BMC officials said. As per the plan, two underground water storage tanks made of concrete would be constructed at Pramod Mahajan Kala Udyan at Dadar and another St Xavier's Ground at Parel. In order to carry the water logged at Hindmata to these tanks, work has been undertaken to lay a 650 m long and 1200 mm wide underground rainwater drain.
Officials said Hindmata is one of the worst affected areas in monsoon. Sometimes, the water level collected in the area can go up to four to five feet high and disrupt vehicular movement. As per the project, space below the Hindmata flyover will be used to install pumps and water collection tanks. From the collection area, water will be pushed to both the storage tanks through the newly laid pipeline network with the help of pumps. Once the high tide ebbs, the stored water will be pumped again through the pipeline and discharged into the sea via drains.
Hindmata is a low-lying area and gets flooded every monsoon if it rains more than 25mm in an hour. The saucer-shaped area gets inundated as water from areas like Parel, Lalbaug and Dadar also flow into Hindmata.
To solve this problem, BMC has been working to increase the drain capacity to 50mm per hour from their current capacity of 25mm in one hour. The civic body plans to intercept this water via augmented stormwater drains, which will carry it to the Britannia pumping station directly.
Presently, the water from the three localities flows into Hindmata and one pipeline under Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road takes it to the Britannia pumping station. In a statement issued in February, 2020, BMC claimed that the augmentation of stormwater drains is completed by 75% to 90% on several roads in the area.