Mumbai: BMC to spend Rs 466 crore more to clean up Mithi river
Problems posed by encroachments on its banks, in the form of thousands of slums, could delay the work, say officials
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will spend an additional Rs 466 crore to clean and beautify the Mithi river. The BMC and MMRDA have already spent more than a thousand crore on widening and cleaning the river under the Mithi River Project. While the BMC has given a deadline of 24 months (excluding rains) for the work, the issue of the encroachment has still not been solved.
As part of the clean up process, the BMC had floated a tender in September 2019 to widen the river, divert drainage lines, construct a retaining wall and service roads, etc. The estimated cost of the project was around Rs 350 crore. But in November the corporation added one more clause – the use of pulse plasma technology to cut the rocks. It increased the cost of the project by Rs 120 crore. Now the administration has sent the proposals to the standing committee for approval.
Work in phases
As per an official of the Storm Water Department of the BMC, "Under the first phase, various works like widening and desilting were done. Now in the second phase, the work has been divided into five groups as per the area." The work includes the diversion of sewer lines, laying of new sewer lines, construction of service roads etc. It will be done in and around Morarji Nagar, Custom Colony, Nilgiri society, Kantilal compound, Karwa industries, Malhotra house etc. The total cost is Rs 465 crore. The estimated cost of the second phase of the rejuvenation is around Rs 2,000 crore.
But while the BMC will soon allot the work, most of the riverbank is occupied by thousands of slums which are an obstacle for it. The BMC has mentioned in the proposal that the contractors will not be charged a fine for the delay caused in the removal of encroachments.
After the 2005 flood, the BMC and MMRDA had taken up widening and cleaning the river. But it is still highly contaminated. After being rapped by the National Green Tribunal, the BMC will implement the work in a phase-wise manner.
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