Obtaining all clearances is a major part of project planning. Ensuring its compliance is another. Time, money and manpower planning are other crucial aspects. Here, the adage ‘Time is Money’ holds true, says Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects), Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), in conversation with Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN).
What are your views on Smart Cities and urban development in India, which are among the key focus areas of the Government of India?
The smart city concept is an innovative method initiated by the Government of India to encourage urban local bodies to think smart and improve their quality of services.
Would you apprise us of your department’s portfolio? How are you steering the growth of different projects?
I am currently functioning as the Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects) in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. My responsibilities include managing the corporation’s entire income side like Property Tax and Octroi, Finance, Budgeting and Treasury. I also look after water supply of Mumbai City, water supply projects, sewerage operation and projects, mechanical and electrical department, etc. My profile also includes planning and implementation of mega projects of the corporation.
“The Mumbai Coastal Road Project is the most ambitious project of MCGM. This envisages creation of a freeway along the Western Coast, with road on reclamation and stilts.”
Project management is a task of diligence. It requires a good team effort for detailed planning and also procuring all the clearances, finances etc. Obtaining all clearances is a major part of project planning. Ensuring its compliance is another. Time, money and manpower planning are other crucial aspects. Here, the adage “Time is Money” holds true.
What initiatives or projects have been undertaken by your office?
Last year, we commissioned the Middle Vaitarna Project, which has made available 460 Million Litres Per Day (MLD) water to Mumbai. This included an RCC Dam (Ninth quickest completion in the world and quickest In India), and its attendant conveyance system of tunnels and pipelines, along with a 900 MLD Water Treatment Plant (WTP). Last year, we completed two recycling plants and systems improvements, which resulted in an additional capacity of 265 MLD. We also completed a 15.2 km water tunnel carrying water to our WTP at Bhandup. These projects are pretty huge.
The biggest single reform that MCGM has undertaken is the Capital Value System. This has not only increased the revenues, but also introduced standardisation and transparency.
The Mumbai Water Distribution Improvement Programme aims at ensuring equitable distribution of water throughout Mumbai, and is a step towards 24/7 supply. It includes Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, hydraulic modelling, equitable distribution solutions etc. This year, we expect to complete the project in two wards and the rest of the city in the next two years.
Which developmental projects you will be focusing on in near future?
The Mumbai Coastal Road Project is the most ambitious project of MCGM. This envisages creation of a freeway along the Western Coast, with road on reclamation and stilts. The road will have provision for a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), walking tracks, cycling tracks and green open spaces. With 11 interchanges, this road will not only decongest the city, but encourage public transport, green modes of travel like cycling and improve Mumbaikars quality of life.
The Goregaon-Mulund Link Road project, another first, envisages a tunnel below Sanjay Gandhi National Park to improve east region to west region connectivity.
We are also coming up with a 3,000, 10 Thousand Tonnes Per Day (TPD) waste to energy plant at Deonar, one of the largest in the world. We would also be reclaiming the unscientific dumpsites in Mumbai in a phased manner.
The Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) and the Mumbai Sewerage Improvement Project (MSIP) aim at 100 per cent sewage treatment and 100 per cent sewage collection of the city respectively. Work has already started with the Colaba Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF). This project can also generate 2,400 MLD of tertiary treated water for non-potable use.
On the potable water side, to fulfill our demand of around 2,000 MLD, we will take up the Gargai, Pinjal Dam projects, and the Damanganga Pinjal River Link projects. Several other projects like city beautification, beach
Several other projects like city beautification, beach beautificati on, fort beautification, etc are also in the pipeline. We shall also make our entry into the Solar Power Sector our plant at Bhandup is expected to commence in the next eight months. How do you define
How do you define sustainable development of a city? Which are the issues that can hamper such development?
As long as development is not detriment to anything, it can be called sustainable. In case of a city, the financial and manpower constraints are also paramount. Development can be sustained only if finances are disciplined. Else, a number of works remain incomplete and everything becomes unsustainable. Needless to say, development must be clean and green to be sustainable.
How does Information Technology play a decisive role in Smart City Projects?
IT is the key. It enables access to information at your fingertips along with better decision making. IT is like the nervous system of any project in today’s world.
What is your opinion on the issue of sewerage and how do you plan to address this issue?
Mumbai is divided into seven sewerage zones (Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Versova, Bhandup, Ghatkopar and Malad) and each of these is serviced by a sewer network and a WWTF. At Worli, Bandra and Colaba, the treated sewage is discharged at over two km into the sea by a marine outfall. Presently, each of these has the consent from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to operate. However, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) would like all these to be redesigned as per new norms and has given us a time period of five years to do so. Hence, we are executing the MSDP and MSIP projects, work has started with the Colaba WWTF and the others shall start soon.
These projects would also result in approx 2,400 MLD of tertiary treated water for non potable use.
Revenue generation or handling income from different sources is one of the key elements in your portfolio. Would you elaborate on this? How have you been able to streamline the property tax processes?
The biggest single reform that MCGM has undertaken is the Capital Value System. This has not only increased the revenues, but also introduced standardisation and transparency. In addition to that GIS Mapping, Geo Tagging, computerised systems, etc have helped in streamlining the process.
We have recently started a 360 degree Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) survey of all properties in the City. This shall be of great aid in detecting evasion and introducing accountability and transparency.