Overseeing civic work offers unexpected perks. Recently, six representatives of the storm water drains (SWD) department toured South Korea for 10 days on the pretext of testing 10 water pumps purchased from there. The indenture for pumping stations that was bagged by a city-based firm had specified that the contractor was to bear expenses of the tour for testing of the equipment.
Each pump has a capacity of around six cubic metres per second, which means they can collectively drain off about 500 million litres of water per second. They require high-voltage power to operate, so generators will be instituted for the pumps.
Out of the 10 machines - costing Rs 30 crore - to be brought in by the end of this month, two will be fixed at Lovegrove pumping station in Worli. Work is expected to begin before monsoon and finish by December. The work order for this pumping station had a budget of Rs 112 crore, including cost of building the station, installations and the South Korea tour.
Even though Rs 1,200 crore has been spent on the Brihanmumbai storm water drains project till date, it is still far from completion. Now, BMC is stepping on the gas to prevent as much waterlogging as possible during monsoons.
“The pace of work will pick up after the new equipment are fixed,” said a senior BMC official. Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer and director, SWD department, said, “This was just an official tour and it was mentioned in the tender that the contractor was to bear the cost for the testing of the pumps, which was important. We will be getting 10 pumps that will siphon approximately 500 million litres per second.” Vhatkar was one of the BMC representatives to tour South Korea.
The other side
“The trip was a part of the contract,” said Vinay Digragkar, spokesperson of Unity Consortium, the Mumbai-based firm that has bagged the contract. “The despatch of the pumps was held up for the testing and approval by BMC officials. Now that the way is clear, the 10 pumps will arrive in a month’s time.”