MUMBAI: Mithi River Authority, which was set up after the July 26, 2005 deluge in Mumbai, under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, has not held a single meeting in the last five years, response to an RTI query has revealed.
RTI activist Anil Galgali today said that he had sought information from the authority, which was set up to restore the Mithi river that was the reason behind the 2005 disaster, about the details of the meetings held by it since 2005. The Deputy Planner and Public Information officer of the Authority, Shivraj Pawar informed Galgali that the Mithi River Development and Protection Authority was established on August 19, 2005, with the Chief Minister as its Chairman.
He informed that ever since the formation of the body, total of 6 meetings have been held. While two meetings were held in 2005, one meeting each was held in the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. However, in the past five years (between 2011 and 2015), previous Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and the current one-Devendra Fadnavis did not hold even a single meeting, Pawar told Galgali.
According to the activist, the Chief Secretary has been made the Chairman of the high-power committee of the Authority and the committee, too, has met 11 times since establishment. Of the 11 meetings, one meeting each was held in the years 2005 and 2012, two meetings each were held in the years 2006 and 2008, and a maximum of five meetings were held in 2013 alone.
There have been no meetings of the high-powered committee under Chief Secretaries J Saharia and Swadheen Kshatriya. On being questioned about how many meetings were mandatory in a year, Galgali was informed that no such rule is in the government resolution.
The length of the Mithi river is 17.8 kms, of which the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) looks after the development of 11.8 kms from Vihar Lake to CST bridge. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is responsible for developing the remaining six kms from CST bridge to Mahim causeway, including the Vakola nalla portion.
After the Mithi river disaster in 2005 the Maharashtra government formed the Authority and fixed the responsibility of cleaning and development work on the MMRDA and the MCGM. "Rs 1,200 crore have been spent on the development activities of the Mithi river till date and the work remains non-satisfactory," Galgali alleged.