Tanvi Despande, Mumbai Mirror Apr 17 2017
New pumping station at Gazder Bandh meant to prevent monsoon flooding
The city is set to lose 150 man grove trees to make way for Mumbai’s sixth pumping sta tion in Gazder Bandh. The BMC had applied for permission from the central government to hack these mangroves as part of their Brihanmumbai Stormwater Disposal System (Brimstowad) project.
The pumping station, which will become operational this monsoon, is being built to prevent flooding in Bandra, Khar and Santacruz.
The Brimstowad project has been controversial for its constant delays and escalating costs. Among other things, the project had recommended the creation of eight new stormwaterdrainage pumping stations to prevent monsoon flooding. Of those eight, only five have been functional, with the BMC inaugurating the Britannia pumping station last year. Work on the sixth pumping station at Gazder Bandh is already under way and is expected to be complete by May. The station will have six pumps procured from Korea, which, along with their generator sets, have already arrived in Mumbai.
However, the biggest obstacle in starting the station was environmental clearance. The station’s inlet and outlet had a swathe of mangroves that will have to be removed in order to facilitate the flow of water. There was an ongoing PIL in court against the destruction of these mangroves, but the court ruled in the BMC’s favour. The BMC had applied for permission with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) last year, and got the go-ahead late last month. “The project will affect around 150 mangrove trees. But it is a public project for the city. As per directives, we will be compensating for the lost mangroves,” said Laxman Vhatkar, chief engineer, SWD, BMC.
The BMC will pay the forest department close to Rs 6 lakh as compensation. “Under compensatory afforestation, we will be planting those mangroves on the BMC’s behalf. As per the rules, five times the number of lost mangroves will be planted,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests.
Meanwhile, the BMC is yet to procure land from the Salt Pan commissioner for its Mahul pumping station. Only once the land is transferred can it apply for environmental clearance. If everything falls in place, the pumping station will be functional next year.