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MMRDA Puts Mithi In Peril  
Source:   Daily News City   : Mumbai Published On   07-10-2009  


This could be yet another Mithi controversy brewing. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has constructed a temporary road right at the mouth of the river near the Mahim Causeway.

 A senior MMRDA official said that the road would cease to exist after the completion of the rock blasting and desilting work in June next year. But a colleague of his said that he was not convinced about this being the right method for removing silt.

It is the MMRDA's job to clean up portions of the Mithi. However, a separate body -- Mithi River Development and Protection Authority (MRDPA) -- was formed post the 26/7 deluge four years ago, to look after the river catchment. It was decided that the MMRDA would work under its guidance.

Devendra Gajbhiye, superintendent engineer, MMRDA, said that the temporary road was built to enable the contractor to take dumpers to the sea. "We have to remove silt, as well as rocks, from the riverbed. Elsewhere, this work is done by carrying a poclaine on a barge down the river. But, at the river mouth near the Mahim Causeway, strong currents coming in from the sea would have made it impossible for a barge to support a poclaine machine."

He added that once the job is completed, some time in June, the road would be removed. "So far, approximately 2.5 lakh cubic metre of silt has been removed."

However, another MMRDA official involved in Mithi cleaning, questioned the method. He said that the road would pose a threat if not removed on time. "There is already a temporary bund around the same area, which has not been removed for almost 18 months now. It has led to the water level rising in the Mithi, near the Bandra-Kurla Complex."

DNA came to know that the MMRDA did not take permission of the MRDPA, which is headed by the chief minister, before building the access road. When contacted, MRDPA project director Dr Vikas Tondvalkar refused to comment on the issue.

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