Poonam Mahajan, newly-elected MP from North-Central Mumbai on Friday visited areas along the Mithi river to see for herself the progress of desilting work ahead of the monsoon.
Mahajan, who spent some time at the Kranti Nagar slum in Kurla (West) and at Vakola bridge, expressed her satisfaction over the progress of the work, but hoped that the civic body would do more.
"The civic officials are doing their best. While in certain areas they have fared well, there is a lot of work that has to be completed before the monsoon. The MMRDA also needs to do much more," Mahajan said.
The first-time MP was told by some residents that desilting had not started in some places and that the construction of retention walls in some parts was delayed on account of obstructions on the river banks.
Mahajan was accompanied by Parag Alavani, a former corporator, Manoj Kotak, leader of the BJP group in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), other party fuctionaries and some senior civic officials.
The BMC is responsible for work north of CST bridge in Kurla, MMRDA is in charge of the work from the CST bridge to Mahim Creek where the river flows into the sea. The deadline for completing the desilting work is June 5.
Four children were swept away in the flood waters at Kranti Nagar after the Mithi overflowed its banks in 2005. The river has been widened, retaining walls have been constructed after slum dwellings were cleared and a higher bridge constructed two years ago.
At Vakola, Bharat Vishwakarma, a member of the Area Local Management group, said no desilting had been done in his area. "We had a meeting with our ward officials a few days ago but no work has started so far," he said.
Laxman Vhatkar, director in BMC's engineering services department, said , "The work is on. Unfortunately, slum residents throw garbage in the river. Moreover, due to lack of a separate sewer line in the area, industrial waste and sewerage flow into the river, undoing most of our work."
Mahajan said she would look examine the possibility of diverting the sewer line. "It will be an expensive project and may take time," she said.