The Mumbai unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) condemned the 'excessive concretization' of city rivers and BMC’s 'sheer ignorance' of repeated warnings by scientists and environmentalists which, according to the party, directly leads to the annual flooding experienced by the city.
AAP leaders Sumitra Shrivastav and Gopal Jhaveri visited the Mithi river as part of their 'Mooshak Yatra', held on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
"Today, the Mithi serves as a ‘nala’, with 54% of its original floodplains and beds having been encroached upon and concretized, and untreated sewage being dumped directly into the river stream," the party said via a press release.
"Reclamation of the banks, by constructing concrete walls (called ‘Levees’) has allowed encroachment by developers on the surrounding wetlands and floodplains. Plastic and industrial waste have choked the river-steams and shut off the flow of water from natural inlets. Mumbai continues to discharge 1842 million litres of sewage directly into our water bodies, including the Mithi", the release further stated.
AAP further criticized the civic body for not paying heed to the recommendations of the 2006 Chitale Committee report
"The 2006 Chitale fact-finding report gave clear directions for action to save Mumbai from floods. 15 years later, 10 major recommendations have still not been acted upon, including banning and reversing concrete development on river flood plains; separation of sewage from storm water; conservation of natural ecosystems including mangrove and wetland protection; solutions for reckless dumping of construction debris; etc," the release said.
AAP Mumbai leader, Gopal Jhaveri said, "the BMC and the Shiv Sena have spent crores of public funds on addressing the issues of the Mithi, and have practically no results to show for it."
AAP Mumbai Working President, said, "We earnestly pray to Lord Ganpati that Mumbai be absolved from the incompetency and the recklessness of the Shiv Sena. It is indisputable that the BMC has destroyed, and condoned the destruction of the city’s natural infrastructure to an extent where Mumbai's floods are becoming inevitable."
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had earlier last month, launched the pilot project of Mithi River clean comprising funds of Rs 5 crore through Aaditya Thackeray, Minister, Environment and Climate Change and Guardian Minister, Mumbai Suburbs.
As part of the project a customised floating matter collection machine manufactured by Finland has been installed on the bank of this River at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) near MMRDA's office.
The main objective of the project is to collect floating matter and recycle it. The waste collected from river will be segregated near the spot by the slum dwellers living near the river vicinity