Mumbai: BMC removes illegal structures and widens drain to avert flooding

Jun 12, 2018, 07:38 IST | Laxman Singh

mid-day impact >> Hours after this paper hit the newsstands, civic officials swung into action to clear an illegal colony that had blocked a crucial drain in Bhandup

Mumbai: BMC removes illegal structures and widens drain to avert flooding
Plastic sheds were obstructing half the nullah, but have now been razed down by ward officials

Hours after mid-day highlighted how an entire slum colony had sprouted in the middle of a major nullah in Bhandup East, the BMC sprang into action and demolished the shanties yesterday. The slums had allegedly come up there two years ago, right after the civic body finished widening the drain.

When mid-day had clicked this photograph of the shanties in the nullah on Sunday. On Monday, after this paper's report was published, S ward officials razed the slum settlement
When mid-day had clicked this photograph of the shanties in the nullah on Sunday. On Monday, after this paper's report was published, S ward officials razed the slum settlement

Locals alleged that civic officials had visited the nullah for desilting, but did not touch the illegal slum settlement or even make a note of it for further action. Due to this, the desilting work was disturbed. A local resident had earlier complained about the shanties, with fears of flooding due to the obstruction of water flow. "In fact, the Storm Water Drain (SWD) department had called off the desilting half way. They could have easily removed the shanties, which had broken the nullah's retaining wall. But no official bothered."

Already, the canal was at major risk of flooding, as the shanties had taken over half its width. The nullah was responsible for drainage from Bhandup to Nahur and Kanjur, along with monsoon runoffs from the railway culverts along Bhandup station.

'We didn't know'
The demolition was undertaken by staffers from S ward (Bhandup) immediately after this paper's report was published. Speaking to mid-day, Santosh Dhonde, assistant municipal commissioner of S ward, said, "As soon as we got to know about the illegal shanties, our staff visited the site and removed them. There were three shanties, but all of them were kaccha structures or plastic sheds. They were built on a concrete ring, meant for seating, around the trees.

"When we took action, no one was inside the sheds. Now, only the concrete structure around the tree base is left, which will be removed by the SWD department. If we had known about the slums, action would have been taken immediately."

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