Mumbai: 79 new flooding spots identified; BMC blames Metro works
BMC puts all the blame on haphazard concretisation and, chiefly, on Metro rail construction work, saying it has not been able to pump out the stagnant water
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC's) multi-crore efforts to make the city flood-free by improving the drainage system, have, well gone down the drain, thanks to ongoing infrastructure projects and rampant concretisation. Over the past few years, the number of flooding spots in the city has increased to 225, according to BMC's latest figures, from 40 spots in 2014.
According to BMC's budget speech for 2014-15, the chronic flooding spots in the city were pegged at 40. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the same number continued. But in the budget speech of 2017-18, it was revealed that the number of spots has increased to 66, and to eliminate these sites, BMC allocated an estimated budget of Rs 74 crore.
Cut to the 2018-19 budget speech by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, in which he mentioned that during the heavy rainfall on August 29, 2017, BMC officials identified a total of 146 flooding spots. Post this, the civic body had set a target of eliminating 55 of the 146 flooding spots before monsoon this year, allocating Rs 53.71 crore to control them. However, right before the monsoon began this year, BMC raised the figure to 225 flooding spots.
Blame the infra projects
A senior civic official from the Storm Water Drains (SWD) department said, "The number of flooding spots has increased because of many big ongoing infrastructure projects. At most places, they have damaged our storm water drain network, which is adding to citizens' woes. The main concern is the Metro work, which is going on all over the city."
"Also, the haphazard concretisation (of roads and buildings) has blocked storm water drains, and is also not allowing the water to go inside the soil. This has slowed down the water receding capacity of city," he added.
This year, Mumbai witnessed another round of severe flooding on June 9. Many streets were submerged for more than eight hours after it had stopped raining. Even Mehta blamed ongoing projects for increasing the flooding spots. When corporators in the Standing Committee demanded answers for the flooding last Wednesday, Mehta said, "Multiple infrastructure projects are going on, because of which new flooding spots are emerging.
Also, the water from the flooded areas is not reaching the pumping stations, due to which we were unable to start the pumps several times as they need a certain level of water." BMC has spent about Rs 500 crore over a decade on constructing five pumping stations across the city to eliminate water-logging and reduce the time for rainwater to recede.
Why is it still happening?
Opposition leader in BMC, Ravi Raja, along with other opposition party corporators had sought answers from the administration for the frequent flooding. Raja had said, "Due to heavy rainfall, the flooding has increased, as have the water logging spots. BMC should answer why all of this is happening even after crores have been spent on improvement of drains."
Meanwhile, citizens are blaming improper cleaning of drains for the increased water logging. Khar resident Zoru Bhathena, who has been raising the issue of flooding at S V Road between Bandra West and Khar West, said, "The drains and manholes are seen overflowing even if there is no rain. This is because the connecting drains [from the city to the pumping stations] are choked and not cleaned properly. These pumping stations are of no use unless water flows smoothly to them, since they require a certain level of water to start the pumps."
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