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Mumbai corporator's bizarre plan to stop dumping of garbage

After the civic body’s effort to clean up the city’s nullahs went down the drain, Leader of the BMC House Trushna Vishwasrao wants one guard at each end of the 116 nullahs in the city during the monsoons

Leader of the House in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has devised a strange plan of action to tackle the problem of garbage disposal in the city: appoint two guards at every nullah to prevent people from throwing trash in.

Also read: Dirty picture - BMC yet to remove silt lying around near nullahs

A group of people led by Devendra Amberkar from the Congress, surveyed different nullahs in the city recently to check on the progress of the clean-up work
A group of people led by Devendra Amberkar from the Congress, surveyed different nullahs in the city recently to check on the progress of the clean-up work

With the monsoon set to hit the city soon, the BMC has, in characteristic fashion, maintained its record of not completing the clean-up of nullahs in the city.

The BMC has failed miserably in clearing out the dirt from this major drains at Shanti Nagar in Wadala
The BMC has failed miserably in clearing out the dirt from this major drains at Shanti Nagar in Wadala

In order to avoid the slush and dirty water from overflowing during the rains, Shiv Sena corporator Trushna Vishwasrao has put forth her suggestion to man the drains and stop people from dumping garbage.

This nullah at Subhash Nagar in Chembur has become a giant dumpyard
This nullah at Subhash Nagar in Chembur has become a giant dumpyard

According to Vishwasrao, one guard should be posted at each end of the 116 majors nullahs to help prevent clogging. Her logic is that the waste dumped anywhere in the drain ultimately gathers at the end, and causes overflowing.

Filth infringes the drain in Deonar
Filth infringes the drain in Deonar

How this arrangement will prevent indiscriminate disposal of garbage in a nullah more than a kilometre long is left to the imagination. The corporator has also demanded that the same contractors who clean up the drains be posted as guards, and be allowed to impose fines on the guilty.

Shiv Sena's Trushna Vishwasrao
Shiv Sena's Trushna Vishwasrao

She said, “I have been demanding to have guards to man the nullahs during the monsoon, but nothing has been done so far. The BMC can easily deploy the same staff that is doing the pre-monsoon work currently. These people can fine those who have been dumping waste.”

A band of people led by opposition leader Devendra Amberkar of the Congress swooped in on different nullahs in the city to check on the progress of the clean-up work.

The visit exposed the civic authority’s shoddy effort, which cost the taxpayer R90 crore. Many drains were overflowing with silt and waste, even though the deadline for completing the work was May 31.

Amberkar told mid-day, “We visited 5-6 nullahs and all were filled with waste. The civic body has cleaned the parts visible from roadside, but the inner parts aren’t cleaned completely.”

At many places, the silt scooped out from the gutters was heaped by the road. Besides raising a stink, this will flow right back into the nullahs when it rains. Norms dictate that the silt has to be dumped at the civic dumping grounds.

BMC speak
Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer of the Storm Water Drains department, said, “The various nullahs that the opposition leader visited were all close to slums. It is difficult to control dumping of waste near the shanties. But our work is still going on and will continue in the monsoon.”

Reacting to the corporator’s proposal to have guards at nullahs, he said, “Clean-up marshals are allowed to penalise those who dump waste in nullahs. We cannot have special guards manning the 116 major nullahs in the city. We will ask the Solid Waste Management department to keep an eye on garbage disposal at nullahs, besides watching dumping on the roads.”

Rs 90 crore
Amount BMC spent on cleaning major and minor nullahs in the city

Rs 2.5 crore
Amount BMC spent on cleaning the 17.8-km long Mithi River

116
Number of major nullahs, with a total legth of 320 km

200
Number of minor nullahs, with a total legth of 420 km

2,000 km
Total length of roadside nullahs

Rs 50 crore
Amount spent on cleaning major nullahs

Rs 40 crore
Amount spent on cleaning minor nullahs

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