The Maharashtra government should have gone in for the construction of an ‘elevated rail track’ over the existing suburban network of the Western and Central Railways, from south Mumbai towards at least Ghatkopar and Bandra, said Congress MLC, Anant Gadgil.
Speaking to reporters at Mantralaya, Gadgil, an architect and a town planner, said he had recommended the same in 1997. In scenarios like the recent deluge of August 29, 2017, or that of July 26, 2005, people could then have left their workplaces in south Mumbai and headed home, without facing hardships, he added.
He maintained that the elevated rail track could be built, without disturbing the existing suburban rail network, by constructing the elevated track on column beam arches, just like the mono and metro rail corridors. “At times when heavy rains disrupt rail and road traffic, the elevated rail track can function and ease the situation on the ground. Prior to the July 26, 2005 deluge, I had warned the government to take remedial measures,” he said.
Calling for an end to granting additional Floor Space Index (FSI) in Mumbai, Gadgil advocated the need for creating self-contained sub-growth centers, between the triangle of Mumbai-Pune-Nashik region. He said that these sub-growth centers should be self-contained, in terms of industries, residential premises, schools and so on. He added that there is a limit to which the city can grow and steps need to be taken, to take the pressure off the metropolis.
Gadgil further said that the drainage system that exists today, was laid down by the British Improvement Trust (BIT) way back in 1932, of which we have only been able to replace 60 per cent of it. “In the town planning schemes in eastern suburbs of Wadala, Sewri, Bandra-Khar or Parsi Colony in Dadar, the British had earmarked an area of 15-20 ft around the buildings for earth and gardens that soaked up excess rains,” he said. Now, in the process of allowing parking spaces, these open spaces have been concretised, creating heat spots which are primarily responsible for decrease in the rainfall, he added.
Referring to the storm water drainage system, he said that at present the government is only spending on its maintenance and not on upgradation. Gadgil said out of eight to nine pumping stations required for the city, only six have been built.