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Plans to fight deluge caught in land rows

The BMC claims that 95 per cent of the work on the river project is complete

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Plans to fight deluge caught in land rows
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After the 2005 deluge, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) realised that its stormwater drains could not handle rainfall over 25 mm per hour. The civic body spent Rs 659 crore on cleaning, widening and deepening the Mithi river. The BMC also spent Rs 2,813 crore on the Brihanmumbai Stormwater Disposal System (BRIMSTOWAD) to augment the almost century-old storm-water drainage system, remove encroachments along the rivers and set up six pumping stations. But Mumbai still halted during the August 29 downpour.

The BMC claims that 95 per cent of the work on the river project is complete. However, at many locations, due to the civic body's failure to remove encroachments along the river, the project has been delayed. BRIMSTOWAD has also been delayed due to slum encroachments along the Dahisar, Poisar and Oshiwara rivers. Garbage and sewage from these slums also obstruct rainwater flow to the sea. Two pumping stations are still not operational.

Experts say that Mumbai's topography complicates matters further. According to them, when there is high tide accompanied by heavy rains, waterlogging in Mumbai is unavoidable.

Former Municipal Commissioner DM Sukthankar says, "But water does not recede because drains are blocked." Sukthankar also points to another problem of more and more open spaces being increasingly concretised.

A senior civic official says, "The island city is low-lying and development in suburbs is on higher levels... encroachments are taking place haphazardly. Water logging cannot be avoided in such a situation."

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