BMC revisits plan to have the facility on centrally controlled salt pans, writes to state government for a recommendation letter; pumping station can resolve flooding at Matunga, Wadala, Chembur and Sion
The Love Grove pumping station at Worli. File pic
As the relationship between the Maharashtra government and the Centre becomes warm and cordial with the BJP back in the driving seat in the state, the BMC has dusted off its plan to have the Mahul pumping station on centrally owned salt pans. The facility, which has remained on paper for the past 15 years, can solve flooding at Matunga, Wadala, Chembur and Sion and ensure smooth harbour train services during heavy rain.
The BMC has struggled to acquire land for the Mahul pumping station, which is one of the eight such projects recommended by the Chitale Committee after the July 26, 2005, Mumbai deluge. It has now resumed talks with the salt commissioner seeking access to salt pans to build the facility, something that was not possible when the MVA governed the state—due to friction between the state and the Centre.
A flooded King’s Circle on September 23, 2020. Pic/Sameer Markande
“BMC officials had a meeting with the salt commissioner and were asked to apply in a prescribed format with a recommendation letter from the state government. The civic chief has already written to the state for the letter,” said an official from the civic body’s stormwater drains department.
Also Read: Maharashtra: Stretch on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway where Cyrus Mistry was killed has claimed 26 lives in 2022 so far
Simultaneously, the BMC has started work on the tender for the design, plan and construction of a pumping station at Mahul. The project needs 25,000 square metres—6.1 acres—of land and will cost about Rs 400 crore. Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal was unavailable for comments.
“We have extended the submission date to September 19 for the design and planning of the Mahul pumping station. The correspondence with the salt commissioner is also going on,” said Ashok Mistri, head of the stormwater drains department.
If things move as expected, sources said, the BMC will get the land where the station was originally planned.
What has happened so far
The site initially chosen by the BMC for the Mahul pumping station is under the jurisdiction of the centrally controlled salt commissioner. Despite requests since 2010, the corporation had not got any favourable response, forcing it to look for other spots. The tender tied to this land was binned in 2020.
As part of its subsequent deal, the BMC was to acquire 15,006 square metres from a private party in exchange for plots with a total area of 13,390 sq metres and allot transferable development rights (TDRs) for the shortfall. In December 2021, it started the paperwork to engage an agency to build the pumping station for an estimated Rs 350 crore. A tender was floated but it was scrapped after six months as the BMC’s land was declared to be a part of the no-development zone under Coastal Zone Management Plan maps published by the National Coastal Zone Management Authority in January 2022.
Commissioned pumping stations
• Haji Ali
• Irla (Juhu),
• Love Grove (Worli)
• Cleveland Bunder (Worli),
• Britannia (Reay Road)
• Gajdhar Bandh (Khar Danda)
To be completed
• Mogra (Andheri)