TAKING cognizance of media reports highlighting increased siltation and mangrove growth in creeks along the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Mayor Kishori Pednekar has called a meeting with civic officials on Tuesday to review ongoing measures to desilt the city’s stormwater drains.

The mayor said she will also discuss preliminary results from an ongoing study by Pune-based NGO Srushti Conservation Foundation, which estimated that MMR has lost about 107 square km of creeks and agricultural land along its coast since 1990.

Due to increased rate of siltation over the past 30 years, Dr Deepak Apte, who led the study, explained that the creeks along the city’s coastline have narrowed and turned into mudflats or mangrove forests, leading to shrinking and shallowing of the creeks.

“I will be holding a meeting with the chief engineers of concerned departments to review whether desilting work in the eastern and western suburbs will be enough to prevent flooding. We will also discuss ways in which Srushti Conservation Foundation’s suggestions for desilting creeks can be implemented.”

As per the study, about 47 sq km area has been lost in the Mumbai-Thane creek, which may pose a threat to the area’s avian biodiversity (including flamingos).

“Considering the 150 mm rain, Mumbai would have gone underwater had we not taken appropriate steps to manage Mithi river. Ahead of monsoon, we take steps to ensure that Mumbai won’t be flooded,” Pednekar added.

BJP threatens to dump silt at BMC official’s house

Alleging that nullah desilting work has not been done properly, the BJP has threatened to dump nullah silt outside a top BMC official’s house.

BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, group leader Prabhakar Shinde and others on Monday visited nullahs in Mumbai to check the desilting work.

Shelar slammed Shiv Sena, which controls BMC, and said that the party’s claim of 107% cleaning of nullah was an “absolute lie”.

“Civic administration and Sena are misguiding people. We will remove the silt and dump it outside the residence of Additional Municipal Commissioner P Velrasu,” said Shelar.

The BMC had earlier said they had completed nullah cleaning.


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