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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Water mains threaten 8 city structures of MUMBAI

   At least eight structures in the city are in constant peril owing to their construction on functional water pipelines, a civic survey has discovered.
   Spread over different municipal wards, the imperilled buildings include residential constructions and even a medical facility. Following their identification and given the standing threat to them, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering redirecting the water pipelines lying under the structures.
   The corporation launched a survey last month to identify buildings sitting on functional water pipelines after an active 24-inch pipe burst under an SRA building in Govandi, killing one and injuring at least eight others. The survey is nearly complete now.
   Officials said the stability of eight structures has been found endangered by active pipelines. Two of these are in the island city—a public toilet outside Churchgate station and an old building in B ward. Five are in the western suburbs, including residential buildings in Goregaon and Malad, and an underconstruction BMC trauma centre in Jogeshwari. Another is in N ward.
   At risk also are the slums squatting on water mains and the structures under which the Govandi pipeline is running.
   Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said the civic body will soon form a committee to plan the diversion of the portions of water pipelines under the eight plots. "We will need to plan thoroughly since it is a complicated process. It will take us some time before all these lines are disconnected and diverted," he observed.
   Difficulties may arise in redirection of the 24-inch pipeline under the public toilet outside Churchgate station. On one side of it is the station and on another a subway.
   Planners fault the corporation and its "inefficiency" for letting things come to such a pass. They maintain the BMC should have been aware all along of the water lines under the eight structures. "The civic body clearly does not when have accurate data of its utilities," said a private consultant who has worked with the BMC on many projects.
   The consultant pointed out that the hydraulic department's "remarks" are a requisite for the clearance of a project. "But there are times when the hydraulic department gives a go-ahead and later, during construction, a pipeline is found running under the plot," he explained.
   Delayed realisation is what occurred during the construction of a BMC trauma centre in Jogeshwari. A consultant warned of a pipeline under the site, but the municipal body ignored the counsel. The pipe's discovery later caused the project's cost to escalate by Rs 14 crore.

Times View: Map underground utilities fast    

The BMC still depends on dodgy data to locate underground utilities. A plan to map these utilities has been on the drawing board since the past two decades. Mishaps will continue to occur in the absence of such a map. The BMC must involve and consult its water department while sanctioning building construction proposals. Diverting a water line at an early stage is easier. The engineer who gives a No-Objection Certificate for a building to come up on a water main should be held responsible.


WHAT NEXT

The civic body will form a committee of hydraulic department officials and prepare a detailed plan to divert the pipelines from under the eight structures. Expected to last a year, the plan's execution will be undertaken after taking into account the stability of the structures

   
ISSUE ERUPTS ON    TO CENTRE STAGE

THE TRAGEDY


April 9, 2013 |

A person died and eight others were injured after an active 24-inch water pipeline running under an eight-storey residential building in Govandi burst

   The SRA building—Sanjeevani Cooperative Housing Society—should not have been erected on a functional pipeline in the first place. A school too was built on the same pipe
   The BMC appointed a four-member committee to ascertain the cause of the burst and to determine why the pipeline was active despite the laying of an alternative supply route in 2008

IN THE AFTERMATH    

Sources said the pipeline was closed down on August 6, 2010, but reactivated six days later because of problems in starting an alternative route. The reopening was sought by an assistant engineer (water works) in M-East ward from additional municipal commissioner (projects). Supposed to be active again just for a month from Aug 12 to Sept 11, the pipeline was forgotten

   The alternative route lacked adequate pressure to supply water from Govandi (West) to the residential colonies in Govandi (East) and thus needed repairs. Also, local officials did not make the switch from the old pipeline to the new because they did not want residents to suffer from truncated water supply during Ramzan
   The BMC committee's report on the tragedy of April this year is still near completion

IN A TIGHT SPOT: An under-construction trauma centre (left) in Jogeshwari and a public toilet outside Churchgate station are sitting on active pipelines




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