Mumbai: BMC still waiting for IIT findings in Malabar Hill reservoir report

21 February,2024 07:18 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Prajakta Kasale

The report was expected within a month of the inspection; MLA promises follow-up

Committee inspecting the reservoir in December. File pic

Key Highlights

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is still awaiting the report from IIT members of the committee regarding the structural stability of the Malabar Hill Reservoir. Three members of the committee who are the residents of Malabar Hill have already submitted their part of the report in the first week of January, stating no need for demolition. The report was expected within a month of the inspection, completed on December 18, 2023. Mangal Prabhat Lodha, the local MLA who proposed the committee, will follow up with the civic chief.

The BMC had planned to demolish and reconstruct the 143-year-old reservoir that supplies water to south Mumbai, covered by the Hanging Gardens. Though the planning had been ongoing for years, and the work order was awarded in February 2023 at an estimated cost of Rs 698 crore, citizens opposed the plan when 389 trees needed to be removed from the adjacent land to increase the reservoir's capacity. After strong opposition from local residents and Lodha, the BMC formed a committee on November 8, including Deputy Commissioner (Special Engineering) Chakradhar Kandalkar, IIT professors - R S Jangid, Jyoti Prakash, and Dasaka Murthy, and representatives of citizens Dr Vasudev Nori, Alpa Seth, and Rahul Kadri.

Committee members assessed tanks 1A, 1B, and 1C on December 18, following their previous visit to tanks 2A and 2B on December 7. After two visits, representatives of citizens submitted an interim report to the BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on January 8. The report stated that demolition is not required and functional repairs, mainly non-structural, are enough, as five tanks are in good condition and one needs functional repair. The report also mentioned that there is no urgency for the repairs, and it can be done without affecting the water supply to the southern part of the city. "The last structure, 1C, is RCC, and it is 90 per cent in good condition. The steel has corroded on the edges, but it is easy to repair with simple waterproofing," said one of the committee members.

Even after a month of submitting this report, BMC officials stated they haven't received a report from IIT yet. I S Chahal said he is not aware of any report submitted to the BMC. P Velarasu, the additional commissioner, wasn't available for comment despite repeated attempts. Mangal Prabhat Lodha said that the report was expected within a month, and the BMC should follow up with the IIT experts for the same. "If they are not keen on it, I will follow up with the commissioner in the next two days," said Lodha. The Malabar Hill reservoir project, aimed at increasing reservoir capacity from 147 to 191 million litres, is expected to conclude by 2029.

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