Why Mithi project did not reach its goal
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More than six years after the mega Mithi River Development Project was kicked off in the aftermath of the July 2005 deluge, about 1,139 structures (mostly encroachments) stand in the way of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
As many as 3,800 structures had been demolished within the first few months of the project kicking off. Five years later, 80 per cent of the river-stretch has been widened but the civic body is still waiting for the collector's office to carry out surveys to ascertain the "eligibility" of the remaining structures.
The deluge of July 26, 2005, which caused the 18km river to overflow and inundate large parts of suburban Mumbai, gave birth to the Rs-1,700-crore project to increase its rainwater runoff capacity. A stretch of 12km, starting upstream at the Vihar lake, was to be redeveloped by the BMC while the last 6km where the river tails off into the Mahim Creek was handed over to MMRDA.
So far, both the agencies have managed to widen and deepen the river and increase its capacity three-fold but it's still short of the target.
Great urgency was shown by all agencies in removal of encroachments along the Mithi immediately after the delu ge but, as officials admit, the pace of work came down considerably over the years. As many as 2,652 residential and 1,148 commercial structures were brought down during April-July 2006 in the first phase of the project. In the second phase, only 1,122 structures were removed. Most of the remaining 1,139 structures are on the stretch from CST Bridge to Kurla Kalina Bridge— where 469 structures stand on government land at Kismat Nagar.
Tenders worth Rs 660 crore for various works are stuck because of these encroachments, officials admitted. Additional collector Avinash Dhakne said the biggest reason for the delay is non-cooperation of slum dwellers. "If they do not submit papers, how can we determine the eligibility? As per our records, along the Mithi stretch, we are left with the survey of 382 structures near Kurla," he said. About 9,000 tenements for project-affected persons have already been readied by the MMRDA and handed over to the BMC.
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