On Wednesday, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar demanded a review of the recently announced 200 MLD water desalination plant in Mumbai worth Rs.1600 crore. In a letter addressed to BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal, he expressed concern about the high capital expenditure cost and operating cost of this project. While acknowledging that this plant seeks to plug the 10-15 per cent water supply deficit affecting Mumbai in the summer months, he suggested alternative water utilisation solutions.
For instance, he urged the BMC to ensure that buildings approved in the last 14 years implement rainwater harvesting structures before the next monsoon. He exuded confidence that the civic body can generate over 600 MLD additional water supply by executing time-bound action plans at a lesser cost than that of the water desalination plant. Moreover, Shelar expressed his willingness to assist the BMC in this regard.
समुद्राचे पाणी गोडे करुन मुंबईकरांची तहाण भागवणाऱ्या प्रकल्पावर 1600 कोटी रुपये खर्च होणार आहेत…
खरंच हा महागडा प्रकल्प मुंबईकरांना परवडणारा आहे का?
या बाबत आज @mybmc आयुक्तांना पत्र लिहून फेरविचार करण्याची विनंती केलेय! pic.twitter.com/QT9Qvp8hwV
— Adv. Ashish Shelar – ॲड. आशिष शेलार (@ShelarAshish) November 25, 2020
In the letter, the BJP MLA contended that 380 MLD additional supply of water will become available even if 10 per cent of the water leaks are fixed. To buttress his point, Shelar revealed that a pilot project initiated by him in the H/West ward had helped save water. He called upon the BMC to undertake a detailed water leakage detection and stoppage project in all 24 administrative wards.
Highlighting that Mumbai is blessed with over 2500 mm annual rainfall, he opined that 6000-10,000 old abandoned wells are an untapped source of water supply. The BJP leader demanded the immediate implementation of the rejuvenation plan for wells. He noted that BMC can earn valuable revenues govern through a fee-based licensing mechanism and provide citizens with a clean legal source of water supply.
Maharashtra government approves desalination project
On Monday, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray gave the go-ahead to the BMC for setting up a water desalination plant. The plant, which will come up at Manori, shall process 200 million litres of water daily. Thackeray emphasised that this project would provide relief to the residents of Mumbai in tackling the yearly water cut due to the delayed monsoon. Reportedly, the plant will take 2.5 to 3 years to complete with the construction cost envisaged at around 3-4 paise per litre.