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Mumbai: BMC wants builders to clean nullahs passing through their projects

Updated on: 14 June,2023 07:36 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale | prajakta.kasale@mid-day.com

BMC’s stormwater department writes to other departments to take immediate steps to desilt major nullahs in collaboration with developers

Mumbai: BMC wants builders to clean nullahs passing through their projects

A BMC worker cleaning nullah at 60 Feet road, Dharavi. File pic/Satej Shinde

In a significant development, the stormwater department (SWD) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now wants the private developers to desilt, clean and clear nullahs. The SWD issued a letter to various departments, including building proposal and SRA, emphasising the importance of preventing flooding caused by major nullahs adjacent to or passing through development projects or lands under development.


In the letter, the SWD has directed other departments to instruct their staff to identify locations and take immediate steps to desilt, clean, and clear the open or covered major nullahs in collaboration with the developers. It is crucial to ensure unobstructed waterways for major and minor nullahs, as well as roadside drains, prior to the impending monsoon season. The letter clearly states that if flooding occurs due to insufficient or incomplete desilting of major nullahs in development projects, the stormwater department cannot be held responsible for any resulting flooding and its consequences. This directive was issued on June 7. As the issue of nullah cleaning grows more complex, there is a growing demand for clear responsibilities without any ambiguity.


The letter emphasises the challenges that may arise if major nullahs are not cleaned and cleared of silt and obstructions before the upcoming monsoon, which could result in flooding in nearby areas. It has been observed that construction waste materials, such as debris and cement slurry, are sometimes dumped in nullahs passing through construction projects, causing blockages to the free flow of stormwater during heavy showers and leading to flooding and waterlogging.


"According to the standard conditions set by planning authorities, developers bear the responsibility of desilting major nullahs passing through their properties. These departments grant permissions to private builders and possess their data. It has been observed that nullahs passing through lands under development are not adequately cleaned and desilted by the concerned developers/agencies. If these nullahs become blocked, they may cause chaos through flooding in surrounding areas. We have already given verbal instructions to the respective department, and now we have sent a formal letter," said an official from the SWD.

Meanwhile, the BMC remains firm in its stance that none of the complaints received on the WhatsApp chatbot are related to improper desilting. The WhatsApp chatbot number for registering complaints about unclean nullahs has already received 421 complaints by June 11. The SWD, responsible for desilting major nullahs, clarified that less than one-third (129) of the complaints were related to their department.

The rest (concerning minor nullahs and roadside gutters) were reassigned to ward offices, but it is unknown to the complainants whether the issues have been resolved or not. Additionally, the majority of complaints pertain to the garbage and floating materials in the nullahs. The SWD has written a letter to the solid waste management (SWM) department, requesting their assistance in addressing the issue of garbage in the nullahs. However, the SWM department declined, citing that nullahs are not within their purview.

BMC officials clarify on unclean nullahs in Juhu and Marol

Cleaned nullah at Krishna Nagar in Marol after desilting was carried out on May22, 2023
Cleaned nullah at Krishna Nagar in Marol after desilting was carried out on May22, 2023

BMC officials responded to our story about unclean nullahs in Juhu and Marol titled ‘Is this what clean looks like?’ published on June 13, providing clarifications on the situation. Regarding the Juhu Gully nullah, an official from the BMC stated, “The Juhu Gully nullah is an untrained or kutcha minor nullah passing through a private plot. The developer was instructed to construct the said nullah and it was cleaned according to the remarks issued by the K/West ward office and Zonal DMC.” In reference to the portion of Krishna Nagar nullah behind the municipal market on Church Road in Marol, another official explained, “The nullah was cleaned earlier in April, and more recently, desilting was carried out using a machine on May 22, 2023. Since this particular nullah passes through a densely populated slum area, floating materials regularly accumulate, which are being cleaned periodically.”

7 June
Day the notice was issued

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