As Mithi floods, green activists blame rampant development

The Asian Age.  | Sonali Telang

Metros, Mumbai

Around 1.45pm on Wednesday, the Mithi crossed the danger mark which led to flooding from stretches near Kurla and Marol.

The tracks between Kurla and Vidyavihar. (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav)

Mumbai: The flooding of the Mithi River for the third time this year has led to concerns among residents living nearby and the environmentalists. Around 1,300 residents from Kranti Nagar were evacuated by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as knee-deep water entered their homes. Poisar and Dahisar rivers also overflowed in the morning due to continuous heavy rains inundating nearby slum areas.

Around 1.45pm on Wednesday, the Mithi crossed the danger mark which led to flooding from stretches near Kurla and Marol. “This is the third time this year that water has gushed into our homes. Despite heavy rains, Mithi didn’t overflow this frequently earlier,” said Shivraj Adagle, a resident of Kranti Nagar. The water accumulation from overflowing of Mithi caused traffic congestion in Goregaon and Jogeshwari- Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) as well.   

Environmentalists rai-sed concerns over the rampant encroachment and reclamation in floodplains of rivers, which is aggravating the intense rainfall. “The construction started in the flood plains of Aarey for the Metro 3 car shed is pushing the excess rainfall water into downstream areas like Marol, JVLR and Kurla. The expert committee report of 2015 had clearly stated that tampering with Mithi flood lines will lead to waterlogging,” said Amrita Bhattacharya, member of the Aarey conservation group.

In Navi Mumbai, villages near Uran and Panvel saw severe waterlogging for the first time.  Parag Gharat, resident of Panje said, “Villages like Jaskar and Rajanpada in Uran and Dugi in Panvel were flooded for the first time ever on Wednesday. The reclamation and land-filling started in the wetlands two years back are now showing effects.”

Activists said that in Dronagiri node near Uran, around 4,000 hectares of ecological sensitive area including wetland and mangrove has been reclaimed. Dastan Phata in Uran also lost 350 hectares of wetland due to land filling activities in last two years. “In February this year, four villages in Uran witnessed flooding for the first time, now two more villages have been affected. It is high time to regulate the land-filling in wetlands and mangroves in the name of development,” said Nandakumar Pawar,  an environmentalist.