Green nod awaited, but BMC floats sewerage tunnel tenders
The BMC has invited bids for a project for which it does not have permission. The civic body’s priority sewerage tunnel project does not have a clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) since it involves clearing a small patch of mangroves in Malad.
The project, part of the Rs 2,000-crore Mumbai Sewerage Disposal Project (MSDP), will have a 6.6-km underground sewerage tunnel running between Borivli and Malad. Civic chief Ajoy Mehta, along with Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee, made a presentation to the MoEF last month in New Delhi regarding the same.
In the meanwhile, the civic administration has invited tenders for the tunnel project in anticipation of the clearance, which is yet to come.
The MSDP is an ambitious BMC project which envisages construction of two tunnels, a sewerage pumping station at Dahisar, a wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) in Versova, an influent pumping station and an effluent pumping station. The total cost of MSDP is around R2,000-crore and involves the transplantation of 35 hectares of mangroves.
Environmentalists had even moved the court in the matter, but the court gave a verdict in favour of the BMC, since the project is a public utility. But the court asked the civic body to follow “due procedure,” which means it requires a clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) as well as the MoEF.
A part of this project is the Priority Sewerage Tunnel-1 which will run from Don Bosco junction in Borivli to Malad WWTF. The project will have an underground sewerage tunnel which will carry sewerage from nullahs as well as pumping stations together, into the sea at Erangal, Malad (West). It will cost Rs 360 crore and will take about three years to complete. The MCZMA gave its nod to this phase in March.
“We have now floated tenders for appointing a contractor for this phase. The deadline for submissions is July 31. The project will benefit residents staying between Dahisar and Malad,” said S D Bamne, executive engineer, MSDP. According to Bamne, an area with a diameter of only 30 metres under mangroves is required for this project, which will hold the last shaft of the wastewater treatment facility.
But he admitted that the civic body can’t go ahead with it until the clearance is obtained. Even then, the civic body will appoint a contractor for it soon. “We will only appoint the contractor now. Work will start only after clearance,” he said. The BMC will float a separate tender for appointing a contractor to transplant the 35 hectares of mangroves.
A highly placed source in the BMC also said that all the preparations for MSDP have been completed but until the clearance is obtained, nothing can be done. “The presentation has been made, but getting environmental clearances is difficult in India. Once that is done, we will take three years to complete the priority tunnel project and a total of seven years to complete MSDP,” he said.