Pumping station project at Mahul clears land hurdle, BMC signs MoU with private realtor

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A major hurdle for the proposed pumping station project at Mahul has been cleared as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has found land for the construction work. The project was pending for the last few years as the Salt Commissioner, an entity of the government of India, which owns the land identified for the construction of the pumping station had refused permission.

The pumping station, once constructed, will solve the problem of flooding in areas like Kings Circle, Gandhi Market, Nehru Nagar, Sindhi Society in Chembur. The construction of the pumping station will cost about Rs 250 crore.

The BMC is now all set to get land from Ajmera Realty and Infrastructure India Limited for the construction of a pumping station and in exchange, the civic body will give the company land parcels at some other location and transfer of development rights (TDR).

A Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between BMC and Ajmera developers had been approved by the municipal commissioner in September.

Officials said that the civic body will require 15,006 sq m of land for the construction of the pumping station. While an exchange of 13,390 sq m of the land parcel will take place between the developer and the BMC, the civic body will give transfer of development rights (TDR) to the developer for the remaining 1,616 sq m after securing approval from the state government.

Further, after the execution of land exchange, the corporation will approach the Urban Development Department for a change of reservation on the land to a stormwater pumping station which is currently preserved as open space in the development plan. A proposal of land exchange will be tabled before the Improvement Committee for approval on Tuesday.

According to the proposal, since the Salt Commissioner did not respond, the BMC-appointed technical consultant conducted another land survey in the area. The consultant found two land parcels owned by a private developer suitable for the pumping station.

“The land is encroachment free and it falls under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-IB, which also includes the construction of stormwater drains. From the point of view of accessibility, the plots are very close to the eastern freeway. The other benefit is the land has a topographic configuration, which means rainwater will reach the pumping station with gravity,” said a BMC official.

The BMC had been following up with the Salt Commissioner since 2015 regarding the land but there was no response. Even Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

After the 2005 deluge in Mumbai, the expert committee had suggested the construction of eight stormwater pumping stations in the city. While the pumping stations at Worli, Cleaveland Bunder, Britannia, Irala, Haji Ali and Gazdarband have been constructed, the remaining two at Mogra in Andheri and Mahul are yet to be constructed.

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