MNS alleges corrective measures have backfired, with the rejuvenation work ending up creating a choke point at Saki Naka
Silt dumped on the Mithi river bank by JCB operators has significantly narrowed the water body at Saki Naka. Pic/Shadab Khan
Is the Mithi clean-up ending up choking the river? The silt that is being removed during the restoration work to widen and deepen the river seems to have ended up further narrowing the water body. The silt, instead of being carted away for disposal, is being piled on the river banks itself, the MNS has pointed out in a letter to BMC.
MNS has raised concern over the narrowing of the river in at Saki Naka. Rohan Sawant, head of MNS's Andheri assembly constituency, has written a letter to the BMC administration asking for a detailed probe into the work order issued to the contractor, Skyway. A BMC official attached to the storm water drain (SWD) department has denied that there is any problem. “There is no merit in the complaint,” the official stated in his reply to a query on the Mithi river issue.
The silt and vegetation has slipped back into the river, narrowing it. Pic/Shadab Khan
In his letter to BMC, Sawant has expressed concern over the construction of the road on the river bank itself. “The widening and deepening work carried out by the contractor has caused more damage to the river,” Sawant told mid-day. When contacted, Skyway contractors there was no response to calls or messages sent to them. BMC has issued a tender worth Rs 128.35 crore for cleaning of the river between Ashok Nagar (Andheri) to Filter pada (Powai).
However, Sawant, the MNS office bearer, claimed that public money is going literally down the drain because of lack of monitoring by the authorities concerned. “The contractor has messed up in such a manner that this monsoon, the flow of water will be blocked and once again the areas where this cleaning and deepening of work is going on will certainly get flooded,” Sawant added. He has demanded a detailed probe in the entire work and punitive action against those erring, including BMC officials responsible for monitoring the work. It was in 2007, during the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s tenure that the final plan for the expansion of the river was formulated.
Work being carried out without official permission?
Is the deepening and widening work done without permissions from authorities concerned? For any work to be done on the river bed on inside the water's flow path it is mandatory to have permissions from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, state environment ministry, Mithi River Development and Protection Authority and other agencies like the MPCB and BMC. But, MNS leader Rohan Sawant was taken aback when a reply to his RTI query revealed that there are no records found with the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). “I had applied to the MoEF and MPCB asking whether they have given any permissions to the agencies or the contractor for the Mithi clean-up work. While MoEF has replied stating that they have no such record, the MPCB has not replied to the query. I have filed an appeal for not receiving the information from MPCB,” Sawant added.