At a time when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is busy patting its own back for successful completion of Coastal Road and Amar Mahal water tunnel on a war footing, the Mumbai civic body is still struggling to complete the ambitious Veravali – Powai – Ghatkopar water supply tunnel project that started over ten years ago. The civic body has now re-started the procedure for the project and it will now cost around Rs 350 crores.
To augment the water supply in the western and eastern suburbs of Mumbai and strengthen the water supply line network, BMC’s water supply / hydraulic department started the project of constructing a 6.6-km tunnel from Veravali to Ghatkopar. In January 2012, a contract of Rs 183 crore for constructing the Veravali-Powai-Ghatkopar water supply project was awarded to Patel Engineering Limited with a 48-month deadline. There are two arms of this tunnel, Powai being the centre point.
In August 2019, a TBM – of German make was brought from Herrenknecht tunnelling systems. However, the project was stuck after TBM got stuck in the same tunnel it was drilling near Powai. Furthermore, during the monsoon in 2020, the tunnel was flooded and the stuck TBM was then covered by muck all around.
The BMC has started a procedure towards a fresh contract to finish the remaining portion of the Powai-Ghatkopar arm of the tunnel. It floated a tender in 2020 to complete the project using another technique wherein 400 metres will be excavated using manpower. Officials said with the appointment of this new contractor, the project deadline will be extended for the third time since 2012. “The earlier deadline for the project was 2016. After that two more extensions were done, this one is the third extension,” said BMC official.
The civic officials said that the work has increased and the new deadline for the completion of the project has been pushed ahead along with the overall cost for the remaining work of tunnelling.
“The work includes completing the remaining excavation work and then removal of the stuck machine, which is our priority. It’s been 10 years since the project first started, hence the project cost has increased and so has the deadline,” added the official.