Where to dump silt from nullahs this monsoon is the question

Where to dump 4 lakh cubic metres (40,000-45,000 truckfuls) of silt and debris removed from nullahs this monsoon? BMC is clueless.

Till last year, it was dumping waste from desilted nullahs in the city at Deonar or Mulund and silt from western suburbs at a plot near Madh-Aksa island. But this year, all waste grounds in the city are filled beyond capacity and BMC efforts to find dumping areas near Mumbai have also failed. "We had urged municipal corporations of Mira-Bhayander, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali to provide us space to dump silt, but they do not have it," said Laxman Vhatkar, director (engineering), environment. As an alternative, the civic administration is planning to include a clause in tenders for cleaning nullahs that contractors will have to find a way to dispose waste they remove.

"We will ask contractors if they can dispose the silt in an alternative space. It might be possible the contractors will be able to dump the silt in areas outside Mumbai or Maharashtra," said Vhatkar.

"We have approached MMRDA for alternative space, but it is unlikely the problem will be solved," he said. After repeated squabbles with BMC, MMRDA refused to undertake nullah desilting work from this year.Every year, all agencies are expected to complete desilting of nullahs by May 31. BMC usually completes 70 per cent of nullah cleaning before monsoon, while 20 per cent of work is undertaken during monsoon and 10 per cent after it. The city has 38 major nullahs measuring about 319 km. These are maintained by the storm water drain department. Ward offices maintain the 119 minor nullahs measuring about 160 km.

Meanwhile, BMC has been reeling from a serious waste dumping problem owing to a delay in the setting up of a compost plant at Deonar dumping ground and the start of full-fledged operations at Kanjurmarg. It is mulling stringent action against dumping ground contractors for delay in the projects.

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