How Metro construction lead to 12-hour flooding at BKC after Tuesday's rain

Aug 31, 2017, 08:45 IST | Laxman Singh and Ranjeet Jadhav

Construction of proposed BKC Metro station leads to clogging of important stormwater outfall in locality, causing it to flood; BMC officials unwilling to come on record as work is headed by CM

The Mithi river in Bandra East. Locals have claimed that this might have been the first time BKC got flooded during monsoons. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The Mithi river in Bandra East. Locals have claimed that this might have been the first time BKC got flooded during monsoons. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The Metro may ultimately add to the infrastructure that is supposed to better transport in Mumbai, but it seems that this will happen at the cost of locals in Bandra East and Bandra-Kurla Complex. As of now for them, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation's (MMRCL) Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) has proved to be a bane. mid-day has learnt that the construction of the proposed BKC Metro station for it has led to the clogging of an important stormwater outfall in the locality.

The accumulated water due to the rains in the commercial district did not recede for more than 12 hours. Pic/Nimesh Dave
The accumulated water due to the rains in the commercial district did not recede for more than 12 hours. Pic/Nimesh Dave

On Tuesday, after the heavy rains, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) had seen unprecedented waterlogging. Locals have claimed that this might have been the first time that BKC got flooded, and also that the water did not recede for more than 12 hours.

Also read - Mumbai rains: Metro III causes havoc at new spots

Choked outfall
According to officials from the Stormwater Drain (SWD) department, just before the monsoon started, the civic body communicated with MMRCL and told them about the damage to the outfall. The outfall was carrying drain water from areas like Ganesh Nagar, Dnyaneshwar Marg, Bharat Nagar, Dharmadhikari Road and discharging it in the Vakola Nullah.

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An official said, "The MMRCL contractor had choked the outfall completely by dumping construction waste. After we had raised this with MMRCL officials, they had promised to make an alternative arrangement of laying a pipeline to smoothen the discharge of stormwater in Vakola Nullah. Though the contractor has started the work, the pipeline has not been laid yet."

"This led to flooding in the area and the water was receding slowly. On Wednesday, some civic officials visited the site and told MMRCL to clear the outfall. They brought machines to clear it, after which water started receding fast," the official added.

Who will bell the cat?
Fearing repercussions since the Metro work is headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, no BMC officials were willing to come on record about the incident.

mid-day had reported first (on June 12) that BMC had told MMRCL its Metro-3 work could cause flooding. Apart from BKC, Worli Naka had seen unprecedented waterlogging due to Metro work barricading, and damage to roadside drains.

When asked about the flooding by Metro work, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had also chosen not to say anything about the negligence by the Metro authority. "BMC and MMRCL are working together and coordinating with each other for any issues related to flooding," said Mehta in a press conference at the BMC head office at CST.

Also read - Mumbai rains: 10 people dead, dozens missing as heavy downpour hits city

BMC officials briefed Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray about this and then he tweeted, "Always here to help. Last night's waterlogging in our area was because BKC Metro work had its debris dumped blocking BMC drainage outlet."

The other side
Managing Director of MMRCL Ashwini Bhide said, "All necessary precautions were taken as per the advice given by MCGM after conducting joint pre-monsoon site inspections of all the construction sites of Metro-3. A detailed advisory is issued by MMRCL to its contractors and project teams, which is being scrupulously followed. In the event of extremely heavy rainfall if any additional measures are required to be taken, MMRC is committed to take them under MCGM's guidance."


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Even as Bandra East drowned, the civic body and the MMRDA played passing the buck
The civic body and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority fail to come together even in the darkest hour of disaster. While water from the entire city receded by early morning on Wednesday, the one area where it did not even after 15 hours, was Kalanagar. Interestingly, the area in Bandra East is where both the Suburban Collector's office, and the house of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray are.

The cause of the knee-high waterlogging there was the unclean nullah along the Western Express Highway near Bandra, that is under MMRDA jurisdiction. A senior civic official said, "The ward officer has informed the BMC head quarters that the problem is due to the MMRDA nullah which does not let the water recede. The drainage system in the area outside the collector's office is also connected to Vakola river. The river level was extremely high and that was the reason water did not recede in Santacruz and Bandra."

When contacted regarding the measures taken in the areas to rid them of the water, H east ward officer Alka Sasane did not respond to calls and messages. MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, "We have cleaned the stormwater drainage along the western urban road and the reason for waterlogging was heavy rainfall and the high tide."

Inputs by Chetna Yerunkar

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