Even though the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and other government agencies are claiming that the deepening and desilting work of Mithi river is on in full swing, it has been learnt that heavy spells of rain could lead to waterlogging in some of the areas adjacent to the river. Reason, the MMRDA is yet to demolish around 1,400 structures along the Mithi’s bank that fall under its jurisdiction.
Soon after the July 26, 2005 deluge, MMRDA had said that it will have to clear encroachments at Parigh Khadi, Maharashtra Nagar, Valmiki Nagar and Ambedkar Nagar to construct retaining walls and a service road. Though the MMRDA successful executed the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) of several Project Affected People (PAPs), the authority is yet to demolish the illegal structures, which could result in waterlogging in Vakola and Kurla, if the areas receive continuous spells of heavy rainfall.
Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “In all (Phase I and Phase II), we were supposed to demolish 4,534 structures that were coming in the way of the Mithi River project. We have already done the R&R of over 3,000 people and for the remaining ones, the issue will be solved soon.” When asked whether the 1,400 structures would be demolished shortly, the official said that demolition work would be carried out post-monsoon.
On Tuesday morning, MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana along with other senior officials visited Mithi to take stock of the ongoing work. Post-visit, the officials said that the work would be completed by June 7. Once complete, the deepening and desilting work will double the carrying capacity of the Mithi, while the post-monsoon work will up it’s discharging capacity by three-fold. “It is significant to note that no flood-like situation was witnessed after the 2005 deluge and I am sure that even this monsoon will be as safe and assuring as the last six,” said Rahul Asthana.
> Of the 17.8-km-long Mithi, about 11.8 km fall under MMRDA’s jurisdiction
> The MMRDA wants to remove around 1,47,055 cubic metres of silt from Mithi
> Till date, the MMRDA has removed over 27 lakh cubic meters of silt
> So far, the MMRDA has spent Rs 224 crore of the Rs 300 crore