Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray proposing rain flood water in Mumbai be used for irrigation and industries around the city and for horticulture in cities like Nashik and Ahmednagar.
He also marked the letter to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and ministers Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Jayant Patil. “We have experienced that every year the Mumbai City suffers huge losses due to the floods. That includes loss of lives, property and damage to infrastructure as well. The floods create serious problems across the length and breadth of the city and hence, I feel that, there is an urgent need to prepare a plan to handle flood situation effectively to avoid losses” the union minister said.
“Rain water adds to the level of the sea in Mumbai and back waters hamper passage of drainages thereby creating a complex problem of disposal and passage of water. The issue of the sewerage water adds to the worry. If systematically planned, flood water, drainage and sewerage can be diverted towards Thane, and entire diverted influx can be stored in a dam after treating this water in mid-way this water can be used for irrigation, industries around the city and for the cities like Nashik, Nagar for the horticulture purposes as well,” the letter read.
The Minister also said that this plan can help to solve the troubles created due to Mithi River in Mumbai which has become a critical issue over the years. “I propose that the barrage should be built on Mithi river and water can be flown into the sea.”
He said, “You are aware that the floods also damage the roads. Government needs to spend on cleanliness and health and services post flood situation. Most of the times damaged infrastructure does not get sufficient attention due to these compulsions and urgency. But, issue of roads need to be addressed on the war footing to minimize the flood risk in Mumbai City, the state government needs to take up the project to convert all city roads into the cement concrete roads.”
“I must bring to your notice that the tar roads do not sustain heavy rains. In this regard, I would like to give the example of Mumbai-Pune Express Highway that was built a couple of decades ago which is still serving people and managing heavy traffic. On the same line, concrete roads can be constructed in Mumbai along with advanced drainage system to carry the sewerage and flood water. There are number of huge colonies in Mumbai where lacs of people reside. There has to be the water recycling plants in such colonies,” the Minister said.
The recycled water can be used by the local residents which would save huge expenses of the local body on the supply of potable water and the same for other usages. The problems of floods, drainage management, sewerage, potable water in Mumbai should be given an integrated thought as the issues that are interlinked. They need to be addressed through the integrated plan, he said.
The Minister of Road Transport and Highways in the letter said the state government can hand over the task to some international consultant to study and prepare DPR to handle these problems in the city. MMRDA may well be asked to take initiative since these problems are not limited to the city limits of Mumbai.
BMC and other relevant bodies may also be kept in the loop to plan and execute the coordinated and integrated scheme to bring relief to the local masses who are facing these problems since decades. MbPT (Mumbai Port Trust) has already planned for water transport services and sea tourism that will make Mumbai, along with being the financial capital, the country’s hub for Sea Transport and Tourism, he said.
“You are requested to support the same. We can create a world class garden by reclamation of land from the sea bed. Initiatives and extension of help from the Urban Development Ministry (MS) under your leadership to such projects would pave the way to reinvent Mumbai as a livable city,” the letter read.