May 15, this is the deadline kept by Western Railway (WR) to clean several kilometers of gutters and culverts on the Churchgate-Virar route which is a vital activity as part of pre-monsoon preparation. The WR authorities have identified 53 numbers of culverts that need to be cleaned and 61 km long drains will undergo desilting on this 60-km route. As of now, work hasn't begun.
Each monsoon, one of the primary reasons for waterlogging is unclean drains and choked culverts which ideally lead water out of the rail premises onto the neighboring roads and/or water bodies. This comes at a time when the WR authorities have already begun collecting garbage strewn along the rail tracks by passengers and encroachers and muck accumulated through muck-special trains. This year 1.60 lakh cubic meters of muck is expected to be removed and cleared from rail premises to prevent choking of drains and culverts.
However senior WR officials said that they haven’t yet started work of cleaning main drains, side drains, and desilting culverts as well which carries water and garbage into the different rivers in Mumbai and its metropolitan region. Some of these rivers include Mithi, Poisar, Dahisar etc. which mostly passes perpendicular to rail lines.
On the entire WR falling under Mumbai Division, there are 205 numbers of culverts that act like waterways and channel water out of the rail premises. "Of these, there are 137 culverts on the Churchgate-Virar-Surat section of which works on none of them have begun yet. Sources said that out of these only 5 such culverts falling in the Udhna-Jalgaon section have been cleaned which is around 2 percent of the total," said a WR official.
Likewise, works of desilting the drains and cleaning the side drains passing along the tracks too needs to be addressed. There are 61 kms long drains on Churchgate-Virar section and another 65 km on the Virar-Surat section which is part of the total 174.79 km long drains that need attention. The balance is on 48.79 km falls in the Udhna-Jalgaon section where the WR authorities have begun work and completed the cleaning of 3.8 km drains.
Another important aspect of ensuring that there is no water logging on rail tracks is by installing dewatering pumps at vital locations next to the rail lines. The WR officials have stated that they will be installing 298 dewatering pumps; some of them being high-powered as well. Out of these 206, pumps will be on the Churchgate-Virar section. And another 59 pumps will be installed on the Virar-Surat section as well, which also includes 6 pumps on the newly constructed Dedicated Freight Corridor. These shall be procured by May end.
Meanwhile, during the year 2021-22, 1.60 lakh cubic meters of muck and garbage were cleared from the tracks in the suburban section. They have identified 106 locations where garbage dumping by outsiders has been noticed. The muck and garbage dumped not only deface the tracks but also clog the drainages crossing under it, leading to water-logging on tracks during monsoon.