The city airport may be relieved of flooding in the monsoons in 2012 as the airport authority has started widening the Mithi River beneath the runway. The work will be completed by May 2012.
In 2005, when the city flooded as the Mithi River started to overflow due to the excess rain, the authorities realised that the Mithi River bed had been narrowed by the airport authority for constructing the runways.
The inquiry panel appointed by the state government to find out the cause behind the floods also pointed to the cleaning and widening of the Mithi River.
Currently, the width of the river beneath the runway is only 27 meters, which could result in flooding during a heavy downpour.
The authority is going to construct two extra culvert 12 meters wide each along with the original culvert. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metro Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have already completed the widening of the river.
The width has been increased up to 100 meters. Only the stretch near the airport runway was pending. After completion of the work the storm water will flow from two channels and this will not affect the runway.
Last week the team of civic engineers from storm water drain department visited the river and reviewed the widening work.
“After talks between the airport authority and BMC, the issue now has been resolved and the work has started,” said a senior civic official from the department of Storm Water Drain (SWD) of BMC.
“To widen the river, the width of the runway has to be cut. If the river widens with one channel or bed there were problems in constructing the runway. Now the problem has been sorted out,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.