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BMC yet to get clearance to build Pinjal and Gargai dams

Pending land acquisitions and environmental clearances hold up two proposed dam projects

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan of getting the proposed Pinjal and Gargai dams built remains a pipe dream, as they still await clearances and land acquisitions to commence the same.

The projects
The much talked-about projects — Gargai and Pinjal dams — are expected to supply 465 and 865 million litres of water, per day respectively. The dams are expected to take another five and eight years to be built, respectively. When combined with the Ganga-Daman project, the Pinjal dam is expected to provide the city with 1,523 million litres of water every day.

However, in order to build the dam, approximately 700 people will have to get displaced and rehabilitated. In addition to this, the BMC will have to construct a 65 km-long tunnel to bring water to the dam. The project is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore and for this, the BMC will request the state government to approach the Central government.

Various clearances required to clear the project and give it the go ahead are pending, as the Environmental Impact Assessment of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Central Government, is yet to greenlight the project. The ministry has several queries about the project, which the BMC is yet to address and answer.

The Gargai dam project is expected to come up in Thane district. Since it is located at the centre of a dense forest area, the project has raised concerns of the harm it will cause to the wildlife there. As 191 families will have to be rehabilitated, the civic body has sent the land acquisition proposal to the state government, who will get back to the BMC about the same. But until the National Board of Wildlife clears the project, it is expected to be put on the back burner.

Waiting for green signal
Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC, Rajeev Jalota, told Sunday mid-day, “We are in the process of getting various clearances from the State Government and the Central Government for both our important projects. Once the various land acquisitions and environment clearances are in place, it will be easy for us to start work.”

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