Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, on Wednesday, in a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, suggested preparing a detailed project report by roping in international consultants to set up a State Water Grid to overcome the recurring floods faced by Mumbai. Gadkari reiterated that formation of a State Water Grid would also help the government ensure availability of water in drought prone areas.
Gadkari’s letter coincided with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launching a statewide agitation against the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, demanding an early reopening of temples. Meanwhile, former CM Devendra Fadnavis stepped 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 Mumbai suffers huge losses every year due to the floods. Hence, there is an urgent need to prepare an integrated plan to handle such 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 midway. This water can be used for irrigation, industries and for 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 the sustainable initiative. The minister said that the problems of floods, drainage management, sewerage and potable water in Mumbai should be given an integral thought as the issues are interlinked.
Furthermore, Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of Road Transport and Highways, also asked the state government to take up the project to convert all the city roads in Mumbai into concrete roads. Stating that the tar roads do not sustain the heavy rains 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 CM to support the water transport initiative and said that the Mumbai Port Trust has already planned for water transport services and asea tourism that will make Mumbai, along with being the financial capital, the country’s hub for Sea Transport and Tourism.