Quiet flows the Dravyavati in Jaipur; could Mithi be next?

Calm and beautiful: The rejuvenated Dravyavati river in Jaipur.  

The rejuvenation of the Dravyavati river, which flows through Jaipur, has raised the possibility of a similar exercise being carried out for the revival of Mumbai’s Mithi river.

The revival of the river, which had turned into nullah as a result of neglect, unkempt borders, and free flow of sewage, involved watershed rehabilitation, flood prevention, pollution treatment and recovering its lost ecology.

“Historically, the river served as an important source of water for the city. Over-extraction, the failure of rainfall, siltation, exponential urbanisation — which added untreated waste and encroachment on the floodplains — and industries on its banks, which added untreated chemical waste, proved to be the bane of the river,” said Anoop Dobriyal, general manager, construction, Tata Projects Limited (Ltd).

The then chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia kick-started the project to revive the river in 2016 and the work was handed over to Tata Project Ltd. at a cost of ₹1,600 crore. “We worked on four aspects: urban infrastructure, public health, flood control and economy,” said Naresh Sharma, head, marketing communications, Tata Projects Ltd.

Mr. Dobriyal said one of the most important steps to revive the river was to set up sewage treatment plants (STPs), which was decided after studying the sewage that was entering the river and available land space. “After going through the STPs, clean water is released in the path of the Dravyavati river at various places,” he said. In the past, the untreated water was being used for farming. “Yes, it was a terrible health hazard. The setting up of STPs and release of water ensures clean water in the river. Also, farmers no longer have to use the sewage for crops,” Mr. Dobriyal said.

The four dams along the river — Mazar, Sikar Road, Gullar and Ramchandrapura — were cleaned and restored to their original condition. An awareness campaign was carried out in slums along the banks asking them to not throw garbage into the river and a large number of encroachments were removed following a High Court order.

Throughout the river’s 47-km-long course, 30 km are concretised and its width ranges from a minimum of 18 metre to a maximum of 100 metre. Check dams have been constructed every 200-300 metre with a four-metre-long porous concrete patch to ensure water percolates into the ground. Gardens, tourist spots and a botanical garden were set up on the banks of the river, and the Jaipur Development Authority reclaimed 193 hectares.

“It is now a government property, and has given a boost to the real estate business. The rejuvenation project has been constructed to withstand the worst floods of the past 100 years,” Mr. Sharma said.

According to Satyanarayana K, COO, industrial system, Tata Projects Ltd., the Dravyavati model can be replicated elsewhere. “There are number of States in talks with us for a similar project. We also had a discussion with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation but it did not materialise. We will pursue it now. We are here to give a better product,” he said.

He said Mumbai could present a bigger challenge with the mixing of industrial effluent in the Mithi. “This may increase the total cost of the project, but it can be done.”

“There are rivers in Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Punjab, which need to undergo this rejuvenation process. We are proactively interacting with many governments,” he said.

The writer visited Jaipur on invitation from Tata Projects Ltd.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2021 1:04:46 PM |

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