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Will BMC be able to clean drains by May 31?

With monsoons just a month away, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is working hard to desilt major and minor nullahs to prevent waterlogging and flood-like situations in the city. However, it has been observed that the desilting work on smaller roadside nullahs is being carried out at a snail’s pace, and is likely to miss the May 31 deadline.


At snail’s pace Labourers cleaning a roadside nullah. File pic

According to senior officials from the BMC, about 60 per cent of cleaning and desilting work of roadside nullahs has been carried out in the city.
“Labourers have been appointed to desilt and clean the drains along the city roads. This is being done at ward-level and meeting the May 31 deadline is possible. Generally, the target is set at removing 70 per cent silt from roadside drains and minor nullahs before monsoons while the rest is removed during monsoon, when the silt settles down at the bottom. BMC’s stormwater drainage department concentrates on the major nullahs that are choked,” informed a senior official from the department.

The official added that one of the major reasons for desilting these nullahs is that some of the sewer lines are connected to several of these drains, to carry stormwater (rain water), hence it becomes necessary to clean them before every monsoon. Each of the 24 wards carry out desilting work using Mahabali machines, which help pump out water and clear water-logging, stormwater drainage department staff, minor nullah contractors and several city-based NGOs.

The silt collected from these wards is disposed off at dumping grounds in Deonar, Aksa and Mulund.Nandkumar Salvi, ex-BMC engineer, stormwater drainage department, said, “The ward offices should plan the work in such a way that it is completed well in advance. The work has always been left to the last minute. Also, it is necessary to clean the drains during monsoons to prevent clogging and flooding. In addition, silt removed from the roadside drains should be disposed off as soon as possible at the dumping grounds.”

Aftab Siddiqui, a Bandra-based activist, said, “No cleaning work of stormwater drains has commenced in the Bandra-Khar Linking Road area. Hawkers dump a lot of plastic in these drains, which are yet to be cleaned.” James John of AGNI said, “Though the civic body has commenced desilting work in our area, it took several reminders from the locals for the BMC to get going. We are still trying to fix certain problems that will prevent flooding during monsoon.”

Did you know?
>> Mumbai’s major and minor nullahs run over a distance 200 km and 129 km respectively
>> Total length of roadside drains, 24 wards collectively, is 1,986 km
>> Last year, by May 31, the BMC had removed 3.97 lakh cubic metres of silt against its target of 4.45 lakh cubic metresĀ 

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