Mumbai: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday in a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has suggested to prepare a detailed project report by roping in the international consultants for the setting up of 'State Water Grid' to overcome the recurring problem of floods faced by Mumbai. Gadkari reiterated that the formation of a 'State Water Grid' would also help the government ensure availability of water in drought-prone areas.
Gadkari’s letter coincided with BJP launching a statewide agitation against the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government demanding an early reopening of temples. Besides, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is stepping up his attack against the state government over its decision to shift Metro 3 car shed to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony.
“We have experienced that every year Mumbai suffers huge losses due to the floods. Hence, there is an urgent need to prepare an integrated plan to handle flood situations effectively to avoid losses,” said Gadkari. The Minister further said that, if systematically planned, flood water, drainage and sewerage can be diverted towards Thane and an entire diverted influx can be stored in a dam, after treating this water mid-way. This water can be used for irrigation, industries around the city and for supplying water to nearby horticulture belts. Through pipelines, excess water can be carried to other drought-prone areas of the state as well.
He also called for setting up of water recycling plants in large residential colonies of Mumbai and its satellite cities as part of sustainable initiative. The Minister said that the problems of floods, drainage management, sewerage, potable water in Mumbai should be given an integral thought as the issues are interlinked.
Furthermore, Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of Road Transport & Highways, also asked the State Government to take up the project to convert all city roads in Mumbai into cement concrete roads. Stating that the tar roads do not sustain the heavy rains that Mumbai witnesses, the Minister gave the example of Mumbai-Pune Express Highway, built nearly two decades ago, that has stood the test of time.
“On the same lines, concrete roads can be constructed in Mumbai along with an advanced drainage system to carry sewerage and flood water,” he added.
The Minister also asked the Maharashtra Chief Minister to support the water transport initiative and said, “the MbPT (Mumbai Port Trust) has already planned for water transport services and sea tourism that will make Mumbai, along with being the financial capital, the country’s hub for ‘’Sea Transport & Tourism”.