The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is assuring citizens that the city should not experience major flooding this monsoon as desilting of major drains has been completed and the work of clearing minor drains is close to completion.
However, some corporators are ridiculing the claims and have pointed out some areas where little if anything has been done. "We have achieved the phase-I target. All major drains have been cleaned in the run-up to the first rain showers," Laxman Vhatkar, director of engineering services and projects, said on Saturday.
The BMC undertakes the desilting of major drains in three phases through the year. Seventy percent of the work is done just before the monsoon, about 20 percent during the monsoon and the remainder after the rain.
Asked whether the BMC could guarantee that there would be no flooding this monsoon, Vhatkar said, "There won't be flooding if both the major and minor drains are cleaned. We have done our job. It is up to the ward offices to clear minor drains."
SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, also expressed his satisfaction over the clearing of minor drains and roadside water entrances. "The work is going on at the desired pace. All the wards have done a satisfactory job on this front," Srinivas said.
Some corporators refuse to accept the assurances of the civic authorities.
Pravin Chheda, Congress corporator from Ghatkopar, said, "The civic body has not removed the silt but it has only cleared some of the floating material and this will not solve the problem. Also, nobody knows where the silt that has been removed has been going. Which village has allowed the BMC to dump the silt on its plots? They are fibbing."
Chheda said major drains in Somaiya, Vikhroli and Bhandup had not been cleaned. He said he believed that there would be flooding with the very first rain showers expected next week. The corporator challenged the authorities, saying he would submit photographs of the flood spots when they happen.
Chetan Kadam, MNS corporator from Borivli, said, "It's not that the BMC has not done any work, but this is just cosmetic treatment of the real problem." He described as half-hearted the cleaning work of drains in Dahisar and Rajendra Nagar.
On paper or for real?
Total length of nullahs (major drains) to be cleaned before the monsoon: 3,20,253 metres
Length completed: 3,18,313 metres
Estimated amount of silt to be removed before monsoon : 3,65,153 cubic metres
Quantity of silt removed : 3,46,900 cubic metres
Work done: 99.39%
Cleaning up the Mithi
Target to be covered : 23,225 metres
Total length completed : 23,088 metres
Estimated quantity of silt to be removed before monsoon : 2,48,940 cubic metres
Quantity of silt removed : 2,48,345 cubic metres
Work done : 99.41%
In your neighbourhood
Number of major drains : 38 (including the Mithi)
Total length of major drains: 319 km
Total budget for the biannual contract given last year to clean major drains: Rs160 crore
Number of minor drains : 119
Total length of minor drains : 160km
Number of roadside water entrances : 1,68,000
Total length of roadside water channels : 2,000km