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Sena, BJP pick holes into each other over city floods and potholes

Thursday, May 17, 2018
By Steffy Thevar

Monsoon is fast approaching and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to prepare itself fully against the impending floods. However, instead of working on desilting and the pending BRIMSTOWAD (Brihanmumbai Stormwater Disposal System) projects, the BMC is ready with a readymade excuse: the ongoing metro works.

On Wednesday, Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, while visiting various spots in the western suburbs to inspect the annual pre-monsoon drain-cleaning work, quipped that this time the floods should be blamed on the state government and not the BMC. The civic body is the planning authority for the city, however as the metro is the pet project of the BJP, the Sena and BJP are presently engaged in a blame game. The BJP on the other hand has all along questioned the reason for the floods in the city all these years.

The city has been seeing metro works going on extensively, especially in the western suburbs. The metro work has definitely affected traffic and will surely affect the storm water drain system in  the course of the monsoons. As of now, according to Skymet, the monsoon will arrive four days before its usual date which means the city has less than 15 days to complete its pre-monsoon works. The mayor also accepted that the civic body has completed only five percent of the desilting work and warned the contractors of action if the work is not completed in time.

This is a routine process and every monsoon the city faces  its usual ways regarding  flooding and potholes.  However this time the Sena has found a way to pin it on the state government. The BJP on the other hand has slammed the mayor for his comments and questioned him as to why  the city floods  occurred all these years because the metro works started only last year.

BJP group leader Manoj Kotak questioned, “The Mayor says that the city will flood this time due to metro. I want to ask him whether there were never floods in the city before this? Why did the city flood in July 2005, were there metro works then? Or in 2010 or 2011. The civic body is yet to complete the BRIMSTOWAD projects, be it widening the nullahs or building the pumping stations. The ones that have started are not working properly. We, the BJP, exposed the nullah safai scam and the weighing scale corruption case. The mayor visited the nullah desilting sites and instead of blaming it on the metro, the mayor should mention how much work is actually done on ground and how did he measure them. He is encouraging corrupt officials and contractors by shielding them, such a mayor has no right to question the state government.”

Kotak further added that by questioning the CM, the mayor aims to gain brownie points and preserve his seat. “He should instead worry that crores are spent on nullah desilting and that it would not flood the city,” added Kotak

Councillor Dr Saeeda Khan sat on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the delay in building the retaining wall and the desilting of Mithi river. The councillor said,  “I had personally arranged for a visit by the additional commissioner (AMC) at this site and he ordered the contractor and the ward officer to look into it. However the work is still pending. This shows the loopholes in the system, otherwise no junior officer will ever have the audacity to ignore an AMC's orders. Despite followups, there has been no response to my letters, so now I have no choice but to go on an indefinite hunger strike against the BMC.” She also demanded a deadline for building the retaining wall of the Mithi river. Dr Khan withdrew the hunger strike after the commissioner assured her that the debris removal work is in progress. She also said that the retaining wall issue is in the court and so it would be built after the court orders.

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