With the monsoon season just round the corner, the civic authority puts preventive measures in place
The city falls within the category of heavy rainfall areas and, on an average, receives 2,200 to 2,400 mm of rainfall in the four-month-long monsoon season. Rains in the city are not equally distributed. Some of the days in the season get more than 200 mm of rain in only 24 hours. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) invested over Rs 1,000 crore in various projects to increase the capacity to drain water from 25 mm rain per hour to 50 mm per hour. The civic body constructed six out of eight pumping stations at a cost of Rs 700 crore. Water pumps are still required at other areas. It also spends nearly a hundred crore for nullah and gutter cleaning, every year. Besides, it has to make the city roads rain-ready with the help of resurfacing and by using pothole mix. DNA walks through the city authority's proactive measures to be prepared for the monsoon months.
Although the BMC invests crores in improving the city's drain water system and on desilting, it still needs the help of dewatering pumps for areas like Hindmata, Sion-Koliwada, King's Circle, Malad, Andheri, Dahisar, Kurla, Dharavi, Chembur and so on. This year, the BMC will install 323 rented dewatering pumps. It will install a high capacity pump (100hp) at Chamdawadi nullah, near Bandra. The overall rent is Rs 25 crore. The MMRDA is deploying 75 engineers, 150 labourers and 30 pumps for Dahisar to D N Nagar (Metro-2A), D N Nagar to Mankhurd (Metro 2B), Wadala–Thane–Kasarvadavali (Metro 4), Swami Samarth Nagar in Lokhandwala–Vikroli (Metro-6) and Andheri east to Dahisar east (Metro 7).
The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System (BRIMSTOWAD) plan was made 30 years ago, but the civic body wasn't ready to spend such a big amount to drain out rainwater. The July 26, 2005 floods forced the civic body to invest money and increase the water draining capacity of the city. The project suggested building eight pumping stations out of which six have been constructed at a cost of Rs 665 crore. The other two at Mahul and Mogra, are on paper even after 13 years due to a land dispute and environmental factors.
Nullahs act as stormwater drains to drain out rainwater. Major nullahs are five metre in width and 248 km in length. Minor nullahs are 421 km in length. The BMC hires contractors to desilt nullahs in parts at a total cost of around Rs 135 crore. The BMC pays nearly Rs 17 per metric tonne of silt. The contractor is supposed to clean 70 per cent silt before May 31. The second part is executed during the monsoon and the third part is carried out after the rains. As per official data, the BMC has completed 85 per cent of its work so far. The BMC spends around Rs 28 crore to clean Mithi river. It soends Rs 10 crore on cleaning the stretch between Bandra Sion link road and Mahim creek.
The city has around 30 lakh trees, out of which, 1.75 lakh trees are on the roads. In 2018, complaints about 3,169 tree or branch collapse incidents were received by the BMC. Out of this, 510 tree collapse incidents and as many as 1,077 branch collapse incidents were reported between June to September. Four men and two women died in these incidents, while 18 men and 12 women were injured. The BMC had awarded its tree trimming contract worth Rs 90 crore in May 2016 and the deal ended on May 15, 2019. Although a proposal worth Rs 90 crore for the next two years is ready to be awarded, it has not been approved by the standing committee yet. The BMC has given a one-month extension to its old contractors.
The BMC has taken up various storm water drain projects to improve the city's capacity to drain out water. The Hindmata project is one of its ambitious projects that will be completed in three parts. The first part includes conversion of two arched drain pipelines into a box drain between B J Devrukhkar Marg and Madkebua Chowk. The additional pipeline is being installed between Lalbaug Police Chowki and Shrawan Yashwante Chowk. The third part consists of widening the pipeline between MD College and Lalbaug Police station.
After the tragic death of Dr Amrapurkar, who drowned in an open manhole in 2017, the civic body has started fixing covers on manholes. At times, manhole covers are removed by locals to drain rainwater. At other times, the covers get stolen. As per norms, the civic body is supposed to station someone close to open manholes. However, most of the time the norm is not followed. Before the monsoon of 2018, the BMC covered 1,425 manholes and fixed safety nets. This year, the civic body added another 1,311 manholes to its safety list; of these, 422 are in the eastern suburbs and 547 are in the western suburbs. The BMC spent Rs 1.21 crore this year to fix safety nets.