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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > How Mumbai turned into limbo city

How Mumbai turned into limbo city

Updated on: 23 January,2024 04:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

Barring Coastal Road, no major project got funded this financial year, as per data accessed by mid-day; city boss promises sea change in the months to come

How Mumbai turned into limbo city

Representation Pic

Despite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allocating Rs 27,000 crore for infrastructure, only funds set aside for the first phase of the Coastal Road are being used, while budgetary provisions for projects such as sewage treatment plants, the concreting of roads and the tunnel of the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road are gathering dust. Even the civic body’s proposal to be made the metropolis’s sole planning authority exists only on paper.

The civic body announced a Rs 52,619-crore budget for 2023-24 despite having an estimated revenue of Rs 34,451 crore. THE BMC planned to fetch Rs 18,746 crore from fixed deposits (FDs) to support crore projects worth Rs 27,247. The BMC had R86,400 crore in FDs at the end of March 2023 and the amount is even after a year.

Road woes
The BMC floated tenders worth Rs 6,080 crore, excluding 18 per cent GST, for the concreting of 400 km of roads across the city in November 2022 and made a provision of Rs 2,825 crore for roads and the traffic department. Tenders for concreting stretches totalling 450 km in length haven’t been floated yet. Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal assured the high court on September 30, 2022, that the BMC would concrete all roads within two and half years.

The stretch on LBS Marg in Ghatkopar that lacks a footpath. The BMC was to map footpath facilities but it has failed to do so. Pic/Sameer Markande
The stretch on LBS Marg in Ghatkopar that lacks a footpath. The BMC was to map footpath facilities but it has failed to do so. Pic/Sameer Markande

The civic body issued a termination notice to the contractor appointed for south Mumbai in October 2023 and issued a fresh tender in December. But the Bombay High Court put a stay on the new e-tender. Roadwork in the suburbs is going on at a snail's speed as the construction of sideline drains and footpaths and laying utility ducts takes time. As per the BMC’s claim, in the year 2022-23, 166 km of roads have been concretised, including last year's spillover works. 

Missing footpath map
As per Chahal’s budget speech, this year, the BMC was supposed to map existing footpath facilities for all major roads that are more than nine metres wide and take note of footpaths that are not in good shape. A token provision of R200 crore was made for this work. However, the BMC hasn’t come up with any such map. 

Coastal Road
The part of the Coastal Road from Priyadarshini flyover to Worli was supposed to be completed in November 2023. The BMC had completed 69 per cent of the work by December 2022 and spent R6,740 crore by that month. The BMC made a provision of R3,545 crore in the current financial year and the road is now 90 per cent complete. The cost of the project is around R13,000 crore, including taxes. It will be partially opened in March 2024. Though there were a few delays, most of the work is on the fast track.

Coastal Road work in progress at Worli on August 29, 2023. Pic/Ashish Raje
Coastal Road work in progress at Worli on August 29, 2023. Pic/Ashish Raje

Sewage treatment plants
The BMC awarded works related to seven wastewater treatment facilities in 2022. The plants are at Worli, Bandra, Dharavi, Versova, Malad, Bhandup and Ghatkopar. In January 2023, The cost of the overall project is R27,310 crore and the BMC set aside Rs 2,792 crore for it in 2023-24. The plants at Dharavi, Bandra and Worli were in dispute as a large number of trees, around 2,000, had to be uprooted to set them up.

After objections, the BMC informed the contractors of the Bandra and Worli projects to make design changes to accommodate more trees. The Malad plant is facing mangrove-related issues and the BMC will submit a compliance report to the high court soon. Except for the Malad one, the plants’ excavation work has started, said a civic official. But, the provision may not be utilised in the current year. 

The demolition and re-construction of 14 bridges, major structural repairs of nine bridges and minor repairs of 16 bridges have been in progress for some time. The Teli Galli and Delisle Road bridges were completed in this financial year. The BMC made a provision of R2,100 crore for the bridges department and though most of its work is incomplete, the budget is being used for spillover work.

The BEST was allotted Rs 800 crore in aid this financial year. Representation Pic
The BEST was allotted Rs 800 crore in aid this financial year. Representation Pic

Parking app
For the past five years, the BMC has been tantalising citizens with a parking app. The commissioner said in the 2023-24 budget speech that all 32 public parking lots (PPL) off-street parking and 91 on-street parking places would be regulated due to which citizens will have better service. The BMC hasn’t floated a tender in this regard in the past 10 months.

BEST assistance
The BMC allotted Rs 800 crore to the BEST as financial assistance this financial year and the first instalment of Rs 500 crore was handed out in November 2023. 

Single planning authority
The BMC had submitted a letter to the chief secretary of the state to appoint it as the metropolis’s only planning authority. “Though the Western and Eastern Express Highways were handed over to the BMC, the decision to make the civic body the sole planning authority of Mumbai is with the state government,” said a senior BMC official. 

BMC Speak
While an official admitted to mid-day that amounts provided for infrastructure projects such as sewage treatment plants and the Goregaon Mulund Link Road tunnel haven’t been utilised yet, Chahal said, “The BMC has undertaken many big projects, which will take a few years to complete. Sometimes, work is delayed for reasons that are beyond our control like environmental clearances, but the project takes a leap the next year.” 

Rs 52,619 cr
Worth of BMC budget for 2023-24

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