MantralayaEvolution (For detailed history of the Municipal Corporation refer to Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. Ill, 1910. pp 1-66): Bombay came into British possession actually in February 1665 as a Royal Gift on the marriage of Charles II. On 23rd September 1668, it was transferred to the East India Company. The civic admini­stration upto 1792 was conducted by the Governor and five senior mem­bers of his council who were Justices of Peace. Between 1807 and 1833 several legislative acts were passed for the advancement of civic life. During this period the civic administration was vested in a Court of Petty Sessions. Upto the end of 18th century the administration of Bombay was conducted by the President and Council directly. The administration of town by the Bench of Justices was the subject of frequent comments and it was felt that some better system must be devised for dealing with sanitation and development. By the Act of 1845, all municipal taxes paid into Government treasury were turned into a municipal fund which was administered by an executive body styled as a Board of Conservancy. However, on account of inefficiency of the board the Government decided to alter its constitution by an Act of 1858. Under this Act, three Municipal Commissioners for the town and island were appointed for carrying out improvement and conservancy.

In 1872, according to provisions of a bill, the powers in connection with the administration of municipal affairs formerly possessed by the Bench of Justices devolved upon two representative bodies, the Corpora­tion and the Town Council. The Corporation consisted of 64 members of whom one-half were elected by the rate payers. The Town Council, on the other hand, consisted 12 members of whom 8 were elected by the Corporation. The Municipal Commissioner in matters of finance was directly under the control of Town Council.

In 1882, came the memorable pronouncement of Lord Ripon on Local Self-Government which envisaged far reaching powers for local bodies. It was followed by an agitation in Bombay for further extension in the elected representation responsible to citizens. This led to the passing of the Bombay Act of 1888. The Act marks an epoch as it is still largely in force, and subsequent amendments have not altered its framework. The outstanding feature of this Act was the creation of three co-ordinating  authorities, viz., the Municipal Corporation, the Standing Committee and the Municipal Commissioner. The Act increased the number of councillors from 64 to 72 of which 36 were elected at ward elections by rate payers and graduates of some universities in the British India. It also created for the first time territorial constituencies by dividing the city into seven wards for the purpose of election.( For detailed history of Growth of Municipal Government refer to Chapter 2-History*-Modern Period in Vol. I of this Gazetteer.)

Further constitutional changes were effected in 1922 vide the Bombay Act of 1922 which did away with representation of the Justices of Peace and substituted the rate payers franchise by the rent payers. This resulted into increase of strength of the Corporation to 106 of which 76 members were elected at ward elections and rest nominated by various bodies including Government. During 1931 the strength of the Corpora­tion was put at 112. The City Improvement Trust created in 1898 (See Chapter 2—History—Modern Period (ibid.)) as a separate body was amalgamated with the Municipality by the Bombay Act of 1933 after its dissolution in 1926.

The constitutional changes brought about by the Government of India Act of 1935 set the pace for further reforms in local government sphere. In 1936, the franchise was widened by reducing the rental qualification. It necessitated the division of original seven wards in 19 smaller units. This was ejected by the Bombay Act XIII of 1938 which also increased number of councillors from 112 to 117. This enactment did away with the Government nominations except three members who were appointed ex officio members. The first general elections on the basis of adult franchise introduced in 1942 were held in 1948. The Bombay Act of 1948 was responsible for the division of city in 34 wards for the general elections of 106 elective seats.

The rapid growth of population and the absence of any scope for further expansion within the city limits, the growing dependence of the suburbs on city for essential services, and the urgent necessity for co-ordinated development in the suburbs rendered the unification of the municipal government of the entire region of Greater Bombay inevitable. By the Bombay Act of 1950 the limits of the Corporation were extended for the purpose of ensuring co-ordination of efficient municipal government. The strength of the Corporation was increased from 117 to 135. The Corporation became a purely elected body with the general elections that took place in 1952. Further by passing of the Bombay Act of 1956 the strength of the Corporation was increased by seven councillors to enable the extended suburbr being represented on the Corporation. The Greater Bombay area was thus divided into 44 wards for general elections with 131 elected seats. By an Act of 1966 the State Government decided to set up 140 single member constituencies with non-transferrable vote and the House was elected on this basis in April 1968. The Corporation today is the largest and fully democratic civic body in India which is functioning with popular participation through 170 members (1985) (The Corporation was superceded for the first time from 1-4-1984 to 10-5-1985.).

The city government was in the beginning restricted mainly to sanita­tion. As the city expanded both extensively and intensively, additional responsibilities came in. The Corporation expanded its medical relief and health services by extensive preventive measures as also by opening hospitals, dispensaries and maternity homes; expanded their water works by constructing big water storages like Tansa and Vaitarna to meet the demands of the increased population and industrial growth; constructed roads, sewers and purification plants and provided recreational facilities like playgrounds, gardens, museums, etc. It also undertook several discre­tionary functions for better civic services.

By the Bombay Act III of 1907, the responsibility of imparting primary education was transferred solely to the Corporation by the State Govern­ment. In 1933, came the administration of the Bombay Improvement Trust properties and the further execution of the work of the Bombay Improvement Trust which was abolished in that year. The Corporation took over in 1947, the B.E.S. & T. Company and turned it into a public utility service under the name of the B.E.S. & T. Undertaking. This civic venture, perhaps the pioneering venture in this country, expanded by leaps and bounds under civic management and renders useful service to the citizens.

Jurisdiction: Under the British rule, Salsette was divided into 129 villages and subsequently, it was split into north and south talukas. The former with 54 villages formed a part of the Thane district and the latter with 36 villages was reconstituted into what was called as the Bombay Suburban District. The Bombay Suburban District comprised two divisions, viz., Borivali and Andheri, the former comprising 33 villages and the latter 53. On 15th April 1950, the municipal limits of the city were extended so as to include the Andheri taluka. In February 1957, the Borivali taluka was included into city Of the 53 villages of the Andheri taluka, comprising an area of 65.5 sq. miles, 16 villages with 23.4 sq. miles area were constituted into four municipal boroughs of Bandra including Vile Parle, Andheri, Ghatkopar including Kirol, and Kurla. In Borivali taluka which had an area of 71.3 sq. miles, 15 villages with 28 sq. miles area were formed into three municipal boroughs of Borivali, Kandivali and Malad. Consequent upon formation of the Greater Bombay scheme in 1957, both Andheri and Borivali talukas including the above municipal boroughs were brought under the jurisdiction of the Bombay Municipal Corporation.

The civic government of Bombay renamed as the Municipal Corpo­ration of Greater Bombay has now jurisdiction over a total area of 603 sq. km. with a population of over 8.2 millions as per the 1981 Census. In fact the population has grown at a faster rate during the last two decades bringing in its wake tremendous problems of planning, immediate augmentation of civic services and remodelling of organisational set up to meet the growing needs of the vast metropolis.

Statutory Authorities: The civic government of this great metropolis consists of two wings—deliberative and executive. At the apex of the deliberative wing is the Corporation which elects its various committees— the statutory committees, the special committees and the consultative committees. The executive wing is headed by the Municipal Commissioner under whose executive control function the heads of departments, the Ward Officers and other staff of various civic services.

Definite powers and functions have been prescribed and assigned under the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act to several authorities, viz., the Corporation, the Standing Committee, the Improvement Com­mittee, the Education Committee, the BEST Committee, the Municipal Commissioner and the General Manager of the BEST Undertaking. These collateral authorities work together as checks and balances, and by healthy traditions, the elected representatives of people charged with policy making, budgetory control and giving general direction on civic matters, exercise general supervision and control over the executive in which administrative control and executive authorities are vested. Following is the description of such authorities.

Deliberative Wing : (1) Corporation: It is required to meet at least once a month. The first meeting after the general election is convened by the Municipal Commissioner and meetings held thereafter are fixed by the Mayor. Meetings of the Corporation are presided over by the Mayor, who was designated as President upto year 1931, and who is now elected each year at the first meeting in April.

(2) Standing Committee : This committee was originally set up by the Bombay Act III of 1872 to exercise financial control over the Commis­sioner. It was known as the Town Council and consisted of 12 members. In 1888 the Town Council was replaced by the Standing Committee and in 1922 its strength was put at 16 including 4 nominations by Govern­ment. The Bombay Act XIII of 1938 abolished this nomination. The Chairman of the Standing Committee is elected by members every year. The main functions of the committee are to sanction contracts, to frame budget, services regulations, to prescribe form of accounts and conduct  their scrutiny. The committee at present consists of 16 members and meets every week.

(3) Improvement Committee: In 1897-99, Bombay was a plague- stricken city. In 1898 the City Improvement Trust was created with a view to providing for the improvement of the city. This Trust was amalgamated with the Corporation in 1933 when the Improvement Committee was created under the Bombay Municipal Corporation to replace Board of Trustees.

With the abolition of nomination of members by Government under Bombay Act XIII of 1938, the entire committee was elected by the Corpo­ration. The committee is now charged with all improvement and develop­ment schemes, slum clearance schemes, housing schemes, etc. The commi­ttee now consists of 16 members and meets once in a month.

(4) Education Committee: Prior to 1888, primary education was under the control of Government. Bombay Act III of 1888 made it incumbent on the Corporation to make adequate provisions for primary education. Under that Act a joint school committee was formed by the Corporation. The Bombay Act III of 1907 made the municipality solely responsible for primary education. Simultaneously the joint committee was abolished and the Corporation was empowered to appoint a School Committee of eight persons to administer the provisions of the Act relating to primary education. The City of Bombay Primary Education Act XV of 1920, was passed and it increased the strength of members to 16 of which four were non-councillors. The Bombay Act XLVIII of 1950 however made some vital changes. It abolished the School Committee and its place was taken by the Education Committee. It consisted of 12 members including four non-councillors. The chairman is elected every year and acts as ex officio member of the Standing Committee. The meetings of the committee are held monthly.

(5) Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking : For the purpose of conducting the electric supply and transport undertaking from 1947, this committee was set up by the Corporation. The committee consists of 9 members, one of whom is Chairman of the Standing Com­mittee. The Chairman is elected every year. The committee is required to meet every fortnight.

(6) Special Committees: In addition to these four statutory committees referred to above the Corporation is empowered to appoint special committees. Such committees were first appointed in 1927. There were 10 committees which were later amalgamated for the sake of convenience of administration. At present there are five special committees, v/z., Works Committee (City), Works Committee (Suburbs), Public Health Committee, Markets and Gardens Committee and Law, Revenue and General Purposes Committee. Each committee consists of 24 members appointed by the Corporation after general elections. Meetings of these committees are held monthly.

(7) Consultative Committees: The Corporation is also empowered to appoint ad-hoc committees known as consultative committees to which they refer any matter for consideration and advice. There is no statutory limit set on the number of members to be appointed on such committees. The meetings are held as and when fixed by Mayor. At present the committees are appointed for grant-in-aid, implementation of development plans, expeditious implementation of water supply projects, issue of hawkers' licences, suggestion of ways and means to avoid the incidence of fire, etc. Generally the total number of members of these committees is 19. Unless the Corporation appoints any particular councillor as the Chairman of any consultative committee, the Mayor presides over the meetings of each committee.

Executive Wing: (1) Municipal Commissioner: The Municipal Commissioner is the head of the executive wing of the Corporation. The post of Municipal Commissioner was created as per the Act XXV of 1858. Under this Act, three Municipal Commissioners for the town and island were appointed for carrying out conservancy and improvement of city. One of these Commissioners was appointed by the Government, and the other two by the Justices. However, this system never worked successfully. Hence in 1865 another Act was passed whereby Justices of Peace were created a body corporate and the entire executive power and responsibility was vested in a Commissioner appointed by Government for a period of three years.

The Municipal Commissioner is the key figure in the overall local self-Government set-up that has developed in Bombay over a century. Today he is not merely the chief executive but also is an independent co-ordination authority. Three sections of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act ensure the independence and supremacy of the Muni­cipal Commissioner as the executive authority. Section 4 empowers him as an authority for carrying out the provisions of the Act. Section 54 vests power of his appointment in the State Government. Thus, he is not a creature of the Corporation and is not dependent on them. Section 64(3) subjects his executive powers only in certain cases to the sanction of the Corporation or Committees.

The Municipal Commissioner controls the officers who are in charge of different administrative units both functional and territorial. Directly under him are nine Deputy Municipal Commissioners, of whom five have territorial and four have functional jurisdiction.

The appointment of Municipal Commissioner is made by the State Government for a period of three years at one stage.

(2) General Manager: The General Manager of the B.E.S.T. is a full time officer appointed by the Corporation subject to approval of the State Government for a renewable period of not exceeding 5 years. He attends meetings of the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Committee and takes part in discussion as any other member but he has no voting power. His duties are analogous to those of the Municipal Commissioner in regard to the electric supply and transport undertaking.

The other executive authorities are enumerated in the following paragraphs:—

  1. Municipal Secretary; The deliberative wing of the Corporation and the various committees are assisted in the day-to-day working by the Municipal Secretary, Statutory Officer and requisite staff. The Municipal Secretary is a full time officer appointed by the Corporation and works under the direct control of the Standing Committee. The civic secretariat is responsible for preparing agendas and proceedings of various committees and the Corporation, and assists elected representatives in matters connected with deliberative work. Special secretarial assistance is provided to the Mayor. The Municipal Secretary keeps the seal of the Corporation and is the custodian of all official documents and papers connected with the proceedings.
  2. Municipal Chief Auditor: The Municipal Chief Auditor is the statutory auditor appointed by the Corporation. He is independent of the Municipal Commissioner and the General Manager of the BEST undertaking. The financial capacity of the Corporation to raise and repay loans from time to time is also required to be certified by the Municipal Chief Auditor before the Corporation accords its sanction. He has to audit the accounts of municipal fund, Bombay Electric Supply and Transport fund, water and sewage fund and consolidated water supply and sewage disposal loan fund. In pursuance of an agreement entered into with the International Development Association (IDA) and conse­quent amendments embodied in the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, the Municipal Chief Auditor is also required to carry out the statutory audit of the accounts of Water Supply and Sewerage Depart­ment and submit his report to the Corporation and the International Development Association.

Mayor: In the early period of the British rule Mayors were also Judicial Officers. The King approved the establishment of Mayors' Courts at Bombay, Madras and Fort William for speedily trying civil and criminal cases. The Mayor's Court in  Bombay was subsequently replaced by the Recorder's of Bombay. The period of Mayoral Court for municipal purposes was one of the blackest periods in the history of British India. Attempts were therefore made to scrape the system and breathe a democratic spirit in local self-Government. The winds of change started blowing in 1802. A fight for citizen's rights was made by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Justice K. T. Telang, Justice Badruddin Tayabji and Sir Dinshaw Wacha which ultimately culminated into the enactment of the Bombay Municipal Act of 1872. This Act introduced a semblance of popular control in local administration. At the first meeting of the Corporation on 4th September 1873, Captain G. F. Henry was elected Chairman of the Municipal Corporation. In 1875, Dossabhai Framji became the first elected Indian Chairman of the Corporation.

The office of the Chairman had been changed to the President of Municipal Corporation of Bombay under the Act of 1882. Another change was effected in 1931-32 when the designation of the President of Municipal Corporation was changed to His Worship the Mayor. In 1950, when India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic, all the British honorifices were dropped and His Worship the Mayor became 'the Mayor'.

In the annals of the Corporation there were 18 Chairmen, 46 Presidents and 52 Mayors upto 1981-82. Only one of them was a lady, namely, Sulochana Modi who adorned the Mayoral Chair for a short period of five weeks from 23rd February 1956 to 31st March 1956.

On the wide horizon of the historic Bombay Municipal Corporation can be seen a glittering galaxy of powerful personalities who have occupied the august office of Mayoralty. Many of them were illustrious men of high political stature like Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, the father of municipal corporations in India, Vithalbhai Patel, Dr. G. V. Deshmukh, Yusuf Meherally, Sir Homi Mody, V. N. Chandavarkar, K. F. Nariman, J. M. Mehta, H. M. Rahimtoola and S. K. Patil.

The office of the Mayor combines a functional role of chairmanship which includes mediation and guidance at Corporation meetings as well as ceremonial role with appendages associated, he being the first citizen of the premier city of India. To individuals and groups within and without the Corporation the Mayor symbolizes their corporate spirit.

Councillors: The passing of the Municipal Act of 1865 forms an impor­tant landmark in the civic governance of the city. The Act placed the power of purse in the hands of Justices. The Justices were created a body corporate but there was as yet no popular representation in the Corpora­tion as these Justices were all appointed by Government. This lack of popular control in the local administration gave rise to further agitation which led eventually to the enactment of the Municipal Act of 1872 bringing into being the Corporation with 64 members. Since then the number of councillors was as follows:—

No. of Councillors
Municipal Act, 1872
Bombay Act, III of 1888
Bombay Act, VI of 1922
Bombay Act, IX of 1928
Bombay Act, IX of 1931
Bombay Act, XIII of 1938
Bombay Act, VII of 1950
Bombay Act, XLVIII of 1950
Bombay Act, LVIII of 1956
Maharashtra Act, XXXIII of 1966

In the beginning the members of the Corporation were elected by rate payers besides nominated members. In 1922 the rate payer's franchise was substituted by that of rent payers. It was only in 1948 that the first election to the House was held on the basis of adult franchise. Special representation was however dispensed with from 1952 when the Corporation became fully an elected body. A further improvement in its constitution came 16 years later. So far the city was divided for election purpose into a number of electoral wards with plural constituencies and voting was on cummulative basis. On recommendation of the Corporation the State Government modified the Act in 1966, setting up 140 single member constituencies with a non-transferable vote and the House was elected on this basis in 1968.

Ward Offices : With a view to afford more facilities to citizens, 21 ward offices have been set up. The branches of various departments have been brought together at the Ward Office, placed in-charge of a Ward Officer. Collection of taxes and other fees or dues, registration of births and deaths and issue of certificates thereof, and complaints in respect of civic services are now attended to by the Ward Offices. The administration of licensing, factories, shops and establishments divisions has been amalgamated so that citizens can conveniently approach the ward officer for all such purposes.

These Ward Offices are placed under the Deputy Municipal Commissioners for supervision.

Departments : The different activities undertaken by the Corporation are detailed below:—

(1) Water Supply (The details of conservancy, drainage and water supply are given in this Chapter at the end.) : The Hydraulic Engineer's Department is entrusted with the work of providing water supply by maintaining water works, conveying and distributing water to citizens. The average per capita daily domestic supply worked out to 134 litres per day. In 1975 Greater Bombay area received total average water supply of 1430 MLD from Vihar, Tulsi, Tansa, Vaitarna, Ulhas and Upper Vaitarna reservoirs. The next source under development is Bhatsai to yield additional 1365 MLD in stages. For purpose of distribution, the Greater Bombay area has baen divided into 76 zones. From 1974 a new department, viz., the Water Supply and Sewerage Project Department came into existence. Hydraulic Engineer's Department now forms a wing of this department.

The water samples from each lake are examined for chemical analysis by the Municipal Analyst once in every fortnight. In order to attend emergency work in respect of pipe bursts, fires, etc. wireless system has been introduced recently between controls at Babula Tank, Vihar, Ghat-kopar, Andheri and 3 mobile wireless units. The position of water supply during 1976 was as follows:—

Supply for domestic purposes (metered)                     ..       31.5%
Supply for domestic purposes (unmetered)                 ..       34.0 %
Supply for non-domestic purposes                              ..        19.5 %
Losses                   ..              ..               ..                 ..        15.0%

(2)      Education : The Bombay Municipal Corporation shoulders the responsibility of primary education from 1907. It was made compulsory in 1920 between ages 6 and 11. The School Committee was replaced in 1950 by the Education Committee and the Primary Education Department was placed under the Municipal Commissioner.

During 1980-81 there were 6,64,900 pupils on roll. The education is imparted through 10 different languages. The total number of schools and classes was 1,318 with 18,424 teaching staff. The municipal scout/ guide division, consisting of 15,000 pupils, is one of the largest single units in the State. The Corporation also conducts Bal Bhavan Centres wherein students below 14 are encouraged to prepare useful articles from scrap. A separate medical staff is provided to examine children.

The Corporation has taken up secondary education since 1965. During 1980-81 there were 51 secondary schools with a total strength of 76,102pupils in standards V to X. There were 2,466 teachers. The academy of music and art was established under the Education Department of the Corporation. The academy conducts refresher's classes for teachers.

The Corporation receives grants-in-aid from Government for primary and secondary education. An expenditure of Rs. 26,59,49,298 was incurred on primary education during 1980-81.

The Municipal Commissioner as the chief executive implements policies of Education Department through Education Officer who is in-charge of primary and secondary education.

Health Services : The public health services of the Corporation comprise prevention of adulteration; registration of births and deaths, regulation of places for the disposal of dead, prevention and control of infectious and communicable diseases; medical relief; pest control and health education. These activities are described in brief in the following paragraphs:

  1. Food Sanitation : Food sanitation comprises control and super­vision over the premises where articles of food are manufactured, stored and exposed for sale. This control is exercised as per the Maharashtra Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Rules framed thereunder. There is also a system of medical examination of food handlers in eating houses. For checking adulteration of food a special staff is engaged on work provided under the above Act.
  2. Registration of Births and Deaths : Births and deaths occurred in Greater Bombay area are registered under the BMC Act, with the ward medical officers. There were 180 crematoriums in use, of which 27 were under municipal management in 1980. An electric crematorium at Chandanwadi was constructed in 1954 at a cost of Rs. 4,50,000.
  3. Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases : This is one of the most essential health services in a congested urban community like that of Bombay. The cases of such diseases except tuberculosis, veneral diseases, leprosy and rabies are isolated and treated at the Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases. Cases of small-pox, plague, cholera are compulsorily removable to this hospital. Persons suffering from veneral diseases are treated free of charge at Municipal Veneral Diseases Clinic. The small-pox vaccinations are carried out free of charge at 85 public vaccination stations, as also municipal dispensaries, hospitals and maternity homes.

Medical Relief: Medical relief was provided in 1981 through 152 municipal dispensaries, 20 mobile dispensaries, 25 maternity homes, 39 maternity and child welfare centres and 19 municipal hospitals.

B.C.G. vaccination and vaccination against small-pox to new born babies are given free at the municipal maternity homes. The children attending primary and secondary municipal schools are examined by the medical staff.

About 53 family welfare centres impart instruction to married men and women in spacing of births. A family planning hospital established in 1971, offers all facilities for tubectomy and vasectomy free of charge.( Details of Medical Relief are given in Chapter 16)

(5) Pest Control: An anti-malarial measure is undertaken by control of mosquitos. The pest control measures are carried out against other insects also. Filaria control programme has also been launched on a small scale by appointing additional staff. The city area is covered with passive surveillence under the National Malaria Eradication Programme. In order to assist the public health department a tuberculosis control unit has been established.

Recreational Amenities : The Corporation maintains 278 gardens and 143 playgrounds and open spaces, to relieve the citizens of the stress of life in the congested metropolis of Bombay. There are twelve principal gardens. The water works department has also undertaken laying out and maintaining gardens in addition to the gardens maintained by the Gardens Department. Furnished residential blocks at the holiday camp are available to public on hire.

The Corporation maintains the Victoria and Albert Museum recently renamed as Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Three swimming pools are maintained by the Corporation.

There were 30 municipal free reading rooms and libraries in 1981.

Utility Services : The passenger transport and distribution of electric supply was taken over by the Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1947. The BEST undertaking since municipalisation has achieved its objectives viz., distribution of electricity in city and operation of buses in Greater Bombay. The BEST Committee conducts the affairs of the BEST under­taking. The total fleet in 1947-48 included 515 buses and trams which increased to 2,291 buses in 1982-83. Today 145 routes are operated which meet the demand of 30 lakhs commuters.

The BEST undertaking distributes electricity to the city area while a private company looks after the suburbs of Bombay. The number of registered consumers in 1982-83 was 6,03,521 with connected load of 15,25,272 kw.

Fire Brigade: Fire brigade has a dual role to perform, viz., to keep vigil to prevent fire and to fight it quickly whenever it occurs. Life and property are not secure in any congested urban community unless its fire brigade is efficient. The fire brigade in Bombay has not only a proud record of rendering efficient services in times of peace as well as local or national emergencies but also has been largely responsible in training men. Never in the history of any city an instance as that of Bombay fire brigade could be cited where so few have served and are serving so many with supreme efficiency. A big force of officers and men remains ready round the clock to serve more than 8.2 million citizens. In their task they are also assisted by the Home Guards to man the auxiliary fire service.

Except the period of five years (1963-68) when the administrative control of the fire brigade was taken over by the State Government for civil defence during emergency, this fire service has been maintained and manned by the Bombay Municipal Corporation within the resources of fire tax at 3/4 per cent which is collected along with property tax.

Within Greater Bombay limits there are 20 fire stations, 12 in city and 8 in suburban area, equipped with modern fire appliances like turn table ladder, escape ladder, crash tender, oxygen and compressed air breathing sets, foam equipment etc. The telephonic communication system has been supplemented with the radio telephony. Each fire station is provided with two wireless sets, one at the station and another fitted to fire engine. This has introduced a marked efficiency in the operational set-up. Apart from main duties of fighting fires and attending to all sorts of rescue operations, the Bombay Fire Brigade maintains a fleet of 16 ambulances posted at different stations.

The number of fire stations increased from 10 in 1957 to 14 in 1971 and to 20 in 1981. The headquarters of fire brigade is at Byculla and the fire stations are located at Andheri, Byculla, Chembur, Colaba, Dadar (East), Deonar, Dharavi, Fort, Gowalia Tank, Indira Dock, Kandivali, Marol, Mandvi, Mominwada, Mulund, Raoli Camp, Shivaji Park, Sewree, Vikhroli and Worli. There were 4,292 emergency calls in 1976-77, 5,334 in 1979-80 and 5,069 in 1981-82.
Shops and Markets: The licensing department controls various acti­vities such as licensing, squatters and hawkers control, advertisement regulation, etc. For the proper administration, a ward is divided into beats put in charge of Beat Inspectors who have to perform all duties connected with licences, advertisement, etc.

The Shops and Establishments Department is responsible for enforce­ment of the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948; the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; and the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The Chief Inspector of Shops and Establishments controls the department with the assistance of Inspectoral Staff. During 1961-62 there were 1,10,755 shops and establishments in Greater Bombay. This number rose to 1,35,545 in 1980-81.

It is obligatory on the Bombay Municipal Corporation to provide market facilities and construct slaughter houses. At present there are 3 big markets in the city and 36 markets in the suburbs including 6 managed by private bodies. The new abattoir at Deonar was commis­sioned in 1971. Its capacity to slaughter animals is 550 cattle per day.

Assessment and Collection: The main revenue earning department of the Corporation, the Assessment and Collection Department, aptly called the backbone of the Municipal Corporation, collects nearly 90 per cent revenue of the Corporation. The department levies property tax, tax on vehicles and animals, theatre tax and octroi. The collection of water charges, meter hire, municipal and State education cess, and building repairs cess leviable under the Bombay Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board Act, 1969 is also assigned to this department.

(1) Property Taxes: These ate levied at a certain percentage of the annual rateable value of lands and buildings. The property taxes comprise of general tax at 25.50 per cent (including fire tax), water tax at 7 per cent, sewerage tax (formerly known as halalkhore tax) at 4 per cent, educa­tion cess varying between 0.5 per cent to 5 per cent depending upon the rateable value of the property, water benefit tax at 5 per cent and sewerage benefit tax at 3 per cent of the rateable value.

The Corporation levies general tax at a uniform rate irrespective of the quantum of the rateable values of the property. An exception was however made in respect of properties in some villages in the extended suburbs where no local authorities existed prior to their merger with Greater Bombay in 1957. In such cases, a beginning was made by a levy of the general tax at 8 per cent of rateable value since April 1958 with an increase of 2 per cent after every alternate year, till it reached the level of rates leviable in other parts of Greater Bombay.

The details of the properties in city and suburb areas are shown below :—

Extended Suburbs
No. of properties—
No.   of   properties exempted from general tax

The following statement shows the total demand and actual collection of property taxes including water charges for a few years:—

(Figures in crores)

Extended Suburbs
Total net demand

The rateable value of all properties on 31st March 1981 was Rs. 85,70,26,696 in the city; and Rs. 83,53,41,837 in the suburbs and extended suburbs. It worked out to Rs.263.04, Rs.96.83 and Rs.123.84, and Rs. 168.10, respectively per head of population.

    (a)Water tax : In the city area the water tax is levied on the basis of rateable value, if water is supplied through unmetered connection. In the suburbs and extended suburbs, the supply is invariably by meter and therefore water charges are recovered by measurement. Rates of water charges vary between Rs. 2.50 and Rs. 30 per 10,000 litres depending upon the user as prescribed by the standing committee of the Corporation.

(b) Sewerage charges: These are levied at 50 per cent of the water charges billed in lieu of sewerage tax in respect of properties in Greater Bombay which are metered and sewered.

(c) Education cess: During 1980-81 the rates of education cess were as follows :—

Rateable Value
Re.1 to Rs.74
1/2 per cent
Rs.75 to Rs.299
2 1/2 per cent
Rs.300 to Rs.4,999
3 per cent
Rs.5,000 and above
5 per cent.

The State education cess, on the other hand, is levied at a certain percentage of the rateable value of property, slabwise. In the following are shown demand and collection of State Education Cess for the period 1970-71 and 1980-81:—

(Rs. in lakhs)

State Education Cess
Gross Demand
Net Demand
Extended suburbs

The Corporation gets 2 per cent rebate from Government on the amount of State Education cess collected by it.
In 1981-82 the net demand was Rs. 1,423-46 lakhs, while collection amounted to Rs. 1,283.82 lakhs.

(d) Building repair cess: The repair cess is at present leviable in respect of residential buildings in the city proper. Fot this purpose build­ings have been classified into three categories and the rates of the cess leviable in respect thereof are as under :—


Buildings erected prior to 1st September 1940

34% of rateable value
Buildings erected between 1st September 1940 and 31st December 1950.
26% of rateable value
Buildings erected between 1st January 1951 and 30th September 1969
18% of rateable value

The owner's share in the cess levied is 10 per cent of the rateable value of the property and the balance is recoverable from the occupier in proportion to the rent of premises i.e. on pro rata basis. The Corporation receives 5 per cent rebate on the amount of cess collected as collection charges.

The total demand and collection of Building Repair Cess is given below:—

Gross demand
Net demand
Collection during the year
231.43 158.34
1980-81 635.62 584.21 226.78

(e) Accommodation tax : The State Government has levied from 1st April 1974 a tax on residential accommodation having an area of more than 125 sq. metres at the following rates:—

Amout of Tax

Upto  125 sq. m. and between   125  sq.m. and 150 sq.m

Rs. 25 per sq.m. per year
Between 150 sq.m. and 200 sq.m.

Minimum Rs. 62. 50 plus Rs. 5 per sq.m. above 150 sq.m. per year.

More than 200 sq.m.

Minimum    Rs.    312.50 plus Rs. 10 per sq.m. above 200 sq.m. per year.

The work of levy and recovery of this tax is entrusted to assessment and collection department for which it gets a certain rebate on the amount of tax collected by the department.

(2) Wheel Tax : The net demand and collection of wheel tax are shown below :—


Area Year
Gross Demand
Net Demand
Collection during the year
Extended suburbs

(3) Theatre tax : In 1970-71, there were 61 cinema theatres in city and 24 and 12 in suburbs and extended suburbs. The cinema theatre tax is also recovered from various dramatic performances, dances, variety entertainments held at various places in Greater Bombay where admission is on payment. The total income derived from theatre tax during 1970-71 was Rs. 8,06,574 in city, Rs. 3,17,332 in suburbs and Rs. 1,50,653 in extended suburbs. In 1980-81, there were 127 theatres in Bombay, and the tax collected amounted to Rs. 35,40,296.

(4) Octroi: The octroi which is levied on various items imported into Greater Bombay at the maximum rates as mentioned in schedules appended to B.M.C. Act, is collected through this department. It forms a sizeable part of the civic revenue. The octroi is recovered departmentally in respect of goods by road through the Municipal Corporation Bank Ltd., in respect of goods coming by air and that in respect of goods coming by sea and railway, jointly by the department and the B.P.T. and Railway authorities.

Goods imported as free gifts or for charitable purposes, as shop stores for municipal use, for repairs and processing etc., are not liable to taxation. The octroi paid is also refundable as per rules, if goods are exported within 6 months. There are 61 octroi centres in Greater Bombay.

The Collection from octroi in the years 1970-71 and 1980-81 is given below:—

(Rs. in crores)

Year Gross collection
Net revenue
Fees for stamping

Revenue and Expenditure: Total revenue and expenditure of the Municipal Corporation since 1915-16 is shown below for a few years:—

(Rs. in '000)

Year 1915-16 1925-26 1935-36 1945-46 1955-56 1965-66
Revenue 13,831 30,531 42,020 58,834
Expenditure 11,203 29,088 42,862 59,518



The Town Planning and Valuation Department of the State working under the control of the Urban Development and Public Health Department of the Mantralaya deals with the town planning and valuation of real properties.

So far the function of town planning is concerned it prepares regional plans, development plans, town planning schemes and site development plans. It renders advise and necessary assistance to municipal councils in the matters of preparation of town planning schemes and to Government on all matters regarding town and country planning. It performs duties of the arbitrator, and deputes member secretaries to Regional Planning Boards. Advice is also rendered on matters regarding preparation of town development, improvement, extension and slum clearance schemes. On the side of valuation the department assesses the value ofagricultural and non-agricultural lands of Government, fixes the value for purposes of non-agricultural assessment, scrutinises draft awards formulated by the Collector, undertakes valuation on behalf of the Central Government and other autonomous bodies, and gives expert evidence on behalf of Government in the High Court in reference cases, etc.

Organisation: The department came into existence as early as 1914. It was ia 1936 that the department was asked to take over town planning work in Bombay city and suburban area and for this purpose a separate branch was opened. However this branch office was elevated in 1956. As the activities of the department increased two additional offices had to be opened in Bombay and at present there are two branch offices located in Bombay. These are (i) office of the Deputy Director of Town Planning, Bombay Division and (ii) office of the Assistant Director of Town Planning, Greater Bombay. The office of the Deputy Director, Bombay Division, was however shifted to New Bombay.

Apart from regular work, the department is also required to send officers on deputation to other Government departments such as Revenue and Forest Department to scrutinise land acquisition awards at Govern­ment level to Bombay Collectorate for expert advice in town planning matters. Such officers also work with the organisations such as the Bombay Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, the City and Industrial Development Corporation, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, etc. At present two offices of the Special Land Acquisition Officers (1) and (3), Bombay and Bombay Suburban District, and one office of the Special Land Acquisition Officer, Bombay Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board, Bombay, are carrying out the land acquisition work for departments of State and Central Governments and other autonomous bodies.

Development Plan: The Bombay district comprises of all land included in the limits of Greater Bombay Municipal Corporation. The Municipal Corporation is the only planning authority as defined in the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966. The main planning work is done by the Corporation and the department has to play a role in the advisory capacity only. The development plan for Greater Bombay was sanctioned in 1966, however recently a revision of the sanctioned development plan has been undertaken by the Municipal Corporation.

Town Planning Schemes: A number of town planning schemes have been prepared by the Municipal Corporation for the city area. Schemes for suburban areas were prepared by the municipalities in suburbs now merged in the Municipal Corporation. Most of these schemes prepared by these local bodies were under provisions of the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915. The Municipal Corporation has changed some of the sanctioned schemes due to fast changing structure of the city. The officers of the department are appointed as the Arbitrators to finalise the draft schemes prepared by the Municipal Corporation. Table No. 1 gives the details of town planning schemes undertaken and sanctioned for the municipal area of Bombay.

Development and Improvement Schemes : The Backbay Reclamation Scheme comprising blocks I and II including Marine Drive was prepared by the department in 1928-30. Subsequently the layout of a large area comprising blocks III and IV under this scheme was also prepared. Schemes for reclamation and development of the foreshore lands at Nepean Sea Road and also Sassoon Dock have been prepared. Similarly layouts at Bandra, Mahim and Ghatkopar etc. have been prepared by this department.

Valuation and Land Acquisition: The department advises the Govern­ment in respect of all matters relating to the valuation and acquisition of lands and buildings. It is required to scrutinise the draft awards framed under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

The officers of this department are required to give expert evidence in court and render necessary assistance to the Advocate General, in respect of land reference cases for the enhancement of compensation referred by all the land acquisition officers from Bombay in the High Court. This helps Government to save substantial a mount on acquisition of lands in Bombay. For example during 1976-77 the total amount of claims before court was Rs. 5,50,41,259.72 as against the compensation awarded by the Special Land Acquisition Officer of Rs. 1,47,62,311.78, the enhancement allowed by the court amounting to Rs. 41,88,571. 60. It is thus clear that due to expert evidence of the officers of this department a saving of Rs. 4,88,52,688.12 was obtained in the cost of land acquisition to the Government.


(Information supplied by the Deputy Director of Town Planning, Bombay Division, Bombay)


Name of Scheme


Date of sanction

1. Bombay City-Mandvi I
2. Estate (Final)
3. Estate (First variation)


Bombay city No. II


1 -12-1959


Bombay city No. Ill

..    N.A.

1 -3 -1961


Bombay city No. IV


15-8 -1963


Bombay city No. IV






15-2 -1921


Bandra-II (1st variation)


1 -5 -1961


Bandra-II (2nd variation)

..  Draft

27-3 -1964



..    Final



Bandra-IV (varied)

..    Final

1 -2 -1959



..    Final



Bandra-IV (varied)

.    Draft

21-5 -1956



..    Final

2 -8 -1926


Bandra-V (varied)


11-5 -1956


Bandra-V (varied)

.    Final




..    Final

29-3 -1941



.    Draft



Bandra-VI (varied)

..    Final

29-9 -1961


Bandra-VI (varied)

.    Draft

12-8 -1959


Santacruz No. 1 (varied)

.    Final

11-2 -1967



.    Final

16-5 -1919


Santacruz-II (variation)

.    Final

12-7 -1945



.    Final

1 -3 -1925


Santacruz-III (variation)

.    Draft

11-2 -1958


Santacruz-III (varied)  ..

.    Final

29-7 -1961



.    Final

15-4 -1926


Santacruz No. IV

.    Draft

5 -2 -1958


Santacruz-IV (varied)   ..


10-2 -1965




6 -3 -1959



.    Draft

6 -5 -1954




21-8 -1958


Malad No. 1


1 -1 -1920


Malad-I (variation)

..    Final



Vile Parle No. 1

.    Final

12-7 -1920


Vile Parle-I (variation) ..

..    Final



Vile Parle No. II

.    Final

11-9 -1924


Vile Parle-II (variation)

..    Draft

9 -3 -1961


Vile Parle-II (variation)

.    Final



Vile Parle No. Ill

..    Final

28-2 -1927


Vile Parle III (variation)

.    Draft

20-8 -1959


Vile Parle III (variation) .

.    Final

3 -10-1969


Vile Parle No. IV and IV-A

.    Final



Vile Parle IV and IV-A

.    Draft



Vile Parle IV and IV-A

..    Final

11-4 -1962


Andheri No. I

..    Final



Andheri I

..    Draft

29-7 -1959


Andheri I

..    Final



Andheri No. II

.    Final



Andheri II (variation) ..

.    Draft

12-9 -1962


Andheri II

.    Final

22-7 -1974


Andheri No. VI

.    Final

16-1 -1935


Andheri VI

•    Draft

5 -1 -1961


Andheri VI

.    Final



Ghatkopar No. 1

.    Final

27-1 -1925


Ghatkopar I (varied)    ..

.    Final

3 -7 -1961


Ghatkopar No. 1

.    Draft

11-2 -1958


Ghatkopar No. II (variation)

.    Draft

15-5 -1938


Ghatkopar II (variation)

.    Draft

15-5 -1961


Ghatkopar II

.    Draft

9 -10-1970


Ghatkopar No. Ill

.    Final

15-9 -1958


Ghatkopar III

..    Draft

10-6 -1954


Ghatkopar II (variation)

..    Draft



Borivali No. 1 (variation)

.    Draft

9 -3 -1962


Borivali I

.    Final

15-7 -1919



The Local Self-Government Institute, Bombay, the combined unit of the All India Institute of Local Self-Government was established in 1926-27. As a major step in the direction of launching its scheme for the training of municipal employees, the institute formulated a comprehensive course known as the Local Self-Government Diploma course. It aims at acquainting the students with the basic principles of local self-government together with the working knowledge of accounts, public health, sanita­tion and town planning. Besides this course, the inslitute holds a number of conferences of local bodies where discussions mainly centre round the municipal administration and views and ideas are inter-changed. In many such conferences efforts were made to persuade the Government to enquire into constitutional, financial and administrative functions of local bodies   and their relations with the State Government.

The Institute has been functioning as a unique institute of education and has created facilities for training and research in problems con­cerning local bodies. Besides local self-government diploma course, and sanitary inspector's course, the institute has introduced many specialised training courses. The institute is recognised by the Bombay University to guide students for M. A. in local self-government. As many as 38,000 students in various courses have been trained so far. It had on its roll on an average 2,300 students during the last five years.






Prior to 1840, the work of cleaning the native town was done on a contract basis. As this system was found to be unsatisfactory, the con­tract system was discontinued. By Act XI of 1845, a Board of Conservancy composed of seven members was established in lieu of the Court of Petty Session. The sanitary work at that time was distributed between the Executive Engineer's Office, the Scavengering contractor and the Sanitary Department. The contractor who was practically uncontrolled did scavenging work in the cheapest manner. The arrangement was however cancelled in 1865. The Board of Conservancy took up the work depart-mentally by bringing a batch of halalkhores from the upcountry as the local halalkhores employed by the contractor refused to work. In 1865, cleaning work was organised for seven wards of the city. Night soil was deposited at Colaba, Khara Talao, Pakmodia Street, Sonapur, Kamathi-pura and Parel. Garbage was taken in bullock carts to the railway siding at Mahalaxmi. Garbage was disposed off in the low lying areas between Sion and Kurla. In 1865, 7,548 wagons with 45,300 tons of garbage was transported. In 1868, the number of wagons and tons of garbage rose to 15,991 and 1,11,876, respectively. A committee appointed by the Corporation to study the transportation problem recommended two sites for railway siding for kachara loading, one at Carnac Bunder and the other at Grant Road. Subsequently the siding was located at Maha-laxmi. In 1897, Government acquired 823 acres and 4 gunthas of land at Chembur and handed it over to Municipal authorities for reclamation and development by garbage filling. In 1956, the conservancy services were directly put under the Health Officer. Gradually mechanised trans­port replaced bullock carts for transportation of garbage. A public health engineering section was created and the Conservancy Department was put under the City Engineer.

At present all public roads are swept daily and sweepings are deposited at temporary dumps, containers, etc. There are about 5,000 temporary collection points in Greater Bombay. For transportation of garbage the Municipal authorities operate 120 to 130 vehicles with the aid of hired lorries. The total garbage transported upto dumping grounds fluctuates from 3,000 to 3,300 tonnes. For the city wards there are two points where refuse is being taken for final disposal, one at Mahalaxmi railway siding and the other at Mahim-Dharavi creek land. The details of refuse dumping grounds in Greater Bombay are given in the following statement.

The disposal system so far employed since the last 100 years consists of filling the low lying areas with garbage. Large chunks of land have been reclaimed thereby, and these are developed into commercial and residen­tial areas. The other method, viz., incineration of garbage has been restricted only for hospital garbage. However this method is very costly.' Two plants, one of ten tonne capacity at Worli and the other of five tonne capacity at the T. B. Hospital at Sewree are set up. The city garbage has more organic matter of compostible nature, and it could be rapidly converted into a good manure. A 300 tonne capacity plant has been set up as a joint venture with the Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation.

Refuse Dumping Grounds, 1981


Year since used
Total area (Hect.)
Area so far reclaimed(Hect.)
Planned use of developed land

(1) Deonar Borla ..





Housing         and Industries.

(2) Dharavi (Closed since 1978)

State Government




Development   by B. M. R. D.A.

(3) Mulund






(4) ESIC   Nagar (Andheri).












(5) Chincholi(Malad).





Dog Kennel







(6) Gorai (Borivli)









Drainage in the past had created great difficulties to the municipal administration as the bulk of the island was originally below the mean sea level, thereby rendering gravitation into sea impossible.


The history of the drainage of Bombay commences with the old main drain, constructed about the end of the 18th century, which at first was merely a nala discharging at the Great Breach. It was gradually covered between 1824 and 1856 from the Esplanade to Pydhonie and Bellasis Road, and was furnished after the construction of the Hornby Vellard with a fresh outfall at Worli. As the urban area increased sluices were constructed in 1842 at Love Grove. In the meanwhile subsidiary connec­tions with the main drain had also sprung into existence, so that by 1856 there were 8,201 yards of subsidiary drains, 1,268 yards of drains communicating directly with an outfall into harbour, and 2,634 yards of drains falling into Back Bay.

However, this system proved to be unsatisfactory as the bottom of the main drain was below the level of low water spring tides. A scheme for discharge of all sewerage at Wadi Bunder and Cornac Bunder on the east side as also for a separate drainage of the Fort area was sanctioned by the Government in 1863. To carry out the work a Drainage Depart­ment was established and the work was commenced in 1864. This work however, was suspended in the following year. A commission appointed by the Government in 1866 to study the whole subject recommended the discharge of all sewage into a reservoir opposite the old Light House at Colaba and thence to pump it out into the sea at ebb-tide. By the close of 1867, the outlet into the harbour had been provided, and the main sewer costing Rs. 1.4 lakhs with an outfall at Sonapur in Back Bay had been completed.

A scheme contemplating an outfall at Love Grove was commenced in 1878 for which a loan of Rs. 27 lakhs was raised by the Municipal Corporation. Under this scheme a main sewer from Carnac Bunder to Love Grove was constructed at the cost of Rs. 4.9 lakhs which was completed in 1881 and a new outfall sewer estimated to cost Rs. 2.41 lakhs was completed in 1880. A pumping station at Love Grove was erected in 1884 at the cost of Rs. 95,000. From 1882, many new works under this scheme were undertaken, Branch sewers were laid down, and notably the Queens road sewer was completed in 1884, Fort area was re-sewered in 1889; house connections and pipe sewers were completed in Girgaum in 1891 and in 1884 depots were erected for reception of night-soil which was discharged into new sewers and carried out to Worli. In 1890, Mr. Baldwin was asked to advise the municipal authorities upon the general scheme of drainage for the island. As a result of his report Colaba was sewered on the Shone system in 1893.

Since 1897 the districts of Mazagaon, Parel, Chinchpokli, and Agripada were sewered on the Shone system at a cost of Rs. 13.24 lakhs. An air-compresser station was constructed at Love Grove for all these districts at a cost of Rs. 8.78 lakhs. The Malabar Hill area was sewered at a cost of Rs. 6.50 lakhs. For the disposal of storm water, ajaew channel from Jacob Circle to Worli was completed.

The area further to north of Worli was developed subsequently. Hence another large sewage outfall with a treatment plant was provided at Dadar in 1935. The areas further to north were developed in 1940 and the sewerage scheme for these areas was implemented by opening yet another outfall plant at Dharavi. The effluent was discharged after treat­ment into the ajoining Mahim creek. These arrangements were finalised sometime by 1950. With this finalisation the city areas were sewered to the extent of about 90 per cent.

In 1950, the suburban areas (H, K, L, M and N Wards) were merged into the municipal limits of Bombay. On the eve of merger of these areas, sewerage facilities existed only in parts of Bandra, Khar and a few parts of Kurla. The Municipal Corporation took up the task of providing sewerage to these merged areas. By 1960 the areas of Khar, Santacruz and Chembur were sewered. New outfalls were provided at Khar, Versova and Ghatkopar.

In 1957, the areas now known as the extended suburbs were merged into the Bombay Municipal limits, and the new conglomeration came to be known as Greater Bombay. On the eve of the merger these suburbs were not provided with sewerage facilities. It was therefore incumbent to provide the same. Hence the municipal authorities constructed pump­ing stations at Kherwadi, Versova, Deonar, Ghatkopar and Malad. Some sewers in the adjoining areas leading to these pumping stations were also laid by about 1970.

Sewerage Projects : In 1962, a high level committee was appointed to study the water supply resources for Greater Bombay. As the increased water supply would cause a corresponding increase in the quantity of sewerage, the committee recommended to provide relief sewers and to construct additional pumping stations. However, due to lack of resources, very few works were undertaken. For the adequate finance, the World Bank was approached in 1969. The scheme aided by the World Bank is known as the Integrated Water Supply and Sewerage Project. A well-known firm of consultants from London, Messrs. Binnis and Partners was appointed to prepare feasibility report for water supply and sewerage requirements. The firm undertook these feasibility studies in their Development Plans I, II and III. Greater Bombay was originally divided into 14 drainage districts. As per the recommendations incorpo­rated in the Development Plan II, these were now divided into five main drainage zones. These were: Malabar Zone comprising areas from Colaba to Love Grove; Worli Zone with areas north of Love Grove; Mahim Zone comprising areas of Bandra, Khar, Santacruz, Dharavi and, Kurla; Marve Zone having areas between Andheri and Dahisar, and Chembur Zone with areas between Ghatkopar and Mulund.

The execution of IDA-I project works started in 1973-74 with the work on engineering design for providing sewers in the developed residential localities of the suburbs and extended suburbs of Greater Bombay. Plans and estimates were prepared for laying underground sewers in the remaining unsewered areas of western and eastern suburbs. Simultaneously the developed residential localities of Malad, Kandivli, Goregaon, Borivli and Mulund were also tackled. Goregaon and Kandivli areas are now fairly sewered. In Borivli area a major programme of laying sewers is in the completion stage, while that of Dahisar is in progress.





In the past Bombay had many wells and tanks, constructed by philan­thropic citizens for public good. The water therein was used for drinking and washing purposes. The location of a private well within the house was regarded as a luxury to be enjoyed only by the rich, and many houses in the Fort were supplied in this way with water which was percolated from the foul ditch surrounding the ramparts. Nevertheless it was rather the scarcity than impurity of water supply that underlay the efforts to improve it. Water famines were by no means uncommon, one of the largest one occurring in 1824. No definite steps were taken until 1845 to improve water supply, when the deficiency of water forced the Government to appoint a committee to devise measures for enhan­cing water supply. During the terrible famine of 1854 the G. I. P. railway service and country boats were requisitioned to bring water from the main land. The crisis became so acute that the Government expressed its anxiety to prevent the recurrence of the calamity. Proposals were put forth for improving water supply which finally resulted in the adoption of Vehar water works.

Vehar Scheme : The Vehar water works in Salsette were begun in the later part of 1856. The main dam and other two dams were completed in early 1858 and the delivery of water to the city commenced in 1860. The total cost of the works was about Rs. 65.50 lakhs of which the Government contributed Rs. 20 lakhs. All the dams were made of earth. The main dam with a width at the top of 8 m. has a puddle wall along the middle. After the introduction of Vehar water supply in I860, Bombay had 24 hours supply only for a brief spell of eight years, by which time the demand for water increased considerably.

Tulsi Scheme : This scheme was originally proposed to be auxiliary to the Vehar scheme. However, in 1875, the Town Council proposed for an independent scheme. The works were completed in 1879, and it was commissioned in 1879. As the demand for water increased, it was thought necessary to increase the capacity of Tulsi lake by raising the dam. Accordingly, the work was taken in hand in 1884 and completed in 1887. The lake impounds about 2,000 million gallons of water and supplies to the city about 4 million gallons per day. The addition to water supply by 18 million litres of water per day from Tulsi lake brought the total supply to 63 MLD.

Powai Scheme : It was designed and carried out in 1890 as an emer­gency measure to mitigate the anticipated water famine. The Powai water was brought to city in 1890. However, the quality of water was so poor that several complaints were received from the public. The Tansa supply was introduced into city in 1892 and since that date the use of Powai lake as a source of water was abandoned. At present water from Powai lake is supplied for washing of buffaloes at Aarey Milk Colony.

Tansa Scheme : The Municipal Corporation undertook the work of the Tansa Dam in January 1886. In November of the same year the cons­truction of aqueduct works from Tansa to Ghatkopar (14 km. in length) was begun. The works originally estimated to supply 95 million litres of water per day through a duct 88 km. in length, were completed at a cost of Rs. 1.50 crores. The Tansa scheme was executed in three stages, the original Tansa works between 1886 and 1892, the Tansa Duplication works between 1912-15 and the Tansa completion works between 1923-26. The supply from Tansa lake was originally about 82 MLD, but the works carried out in connection with duplication at the Tansa Main doubled this output in 1916. Under the Tansa Duplication works the Tansa Dam was expanded from its original capacity of 123.48 mts. to 126.37 mts. above the THD. The available daily water supply from the lake was raised from 95.34 MLD to 222. 46 MLD. The works were completed at a cost of Rs. 70,50,000 and were commissioned in December 1915.

The failure of the Monsoon of 1918 and the serious damage to Tansa Aqueduct in July 1919 made it imperative to provide for an additional water supply. Ultimately it was recommended to extend the Tansa scheme  to its final limit at an estimated  cost of Rs. 4.29 crores.

Accordingly, the project called the Tansa Completion Works was decided to be taken up to distribute the whole of the water which Tansa catch­ment could yield in normal years of rainfall. Accordingly, the works were started in 1923 and completed in 1926. In the fourth stage, which was taken up in 1948, 38 automatic falling shutters were installed to increase the spillway capacity from 23,000 to 33,000 cusecs.

Vaitarna-cum-Tansa Scheme: With the completion of the third phase of the Tansa Scheme in 1926, the available supply from Tulsi, Vehar and Tansa rose to 490.3 ML per day. From 1924 to 1944, Bombay had no real shortage of water supply. The increase in population during the World War II, however, called for more water. In 1950, the suburban area was merged in the city. To keep pace with the new demand the Vaitarna-cwra-Tansa Scheme was taken up in hand in 1948, and was completed in 1957. With 463 MLD of water from the Vaitarna Lake the overall supply of water rose to 999 million litres per day by 1964.

Ulhas Scheme: In 1962, the Government of Maharashtra appointed a committee to undertake a new scheme for augmentation of water supply to Greater Bombay, and it was decided to carry out the upper Vaitarna Scheme. The work on the same was commenced in 1965. Due to the delayed rains of 1966, Government allowed the Municipal Corpo­ration to tap surplus water from the Ulhas river at Mohane near Kalyan as an emergency work. The scheme was undertaken immediately and was completed in one year. An additional water supply became available to the city since May 1967.

Upper Vaitarna Scheme: Even after completion of the Vaitarna-cum-Tansa Scheme in 1957 the water supply position was not happy. In fact demand for more water increased day by day. Towards this the Government of Maharashtra appointed a committee in 1962 to under­take new scheme for augmenting water supply. The committee decided to carry out the Upper Vaitarna Scheme. The work was commenced on two dams, one on the Vaitarna river and the other on the Alandi river in the upper reaches of the Vaitarna in 1965 and completed in 1973. A storage of 3,60,000 MLD was created which roughly meant an addi­tional supply of 532 MLD of water to lower Vaitarna lake. From the Upper Vaitarna Lake the tail-race water after generation of electricity flows through the Vaitarna river and is collected into Modak Sagar (Vaitarna Lake). The reservoir is named after Mr. Modak in gratitude to the ingenuity and illustrious services of the engineer of this project.

With the completion of Upper Vaitarna. Project, the average supply brought to the city was 1,498 ML, per day in 1972-73, the details of which are as under:—








Vaitarna ..


Ulhas      ..


Upper Vaitarna




Bhatsai Project : In 1962, the Municipal Corporation appointed a committee of experts to study the growing needs of water. The committee suggested various alternative sources, and in 1964 the Government of Maharashtra gave approval to harness the waters of the Bhatsai river for the purpose. Of the three stages, the Municipal Corporation is engaged in completion of the first stage, viz., augmenting the city's water supply by 455 MLD. The construction of three pumping stations at Pise, Panjrapur and Bhandup was taken up in hand from 1975, and the three switch yards and the above three pumping stations have been commissioned. From December 1979, the Corporation started pumping waters from the river at Pise. At present about 455 MLD of water is being drawn for the city's use.

In the following statement are given the details of the service reservoirs in the city and suburbs and their existing capacity.



Existing capacity (MLD)
Full supply level (MTHD)
Malabar Hill-1
Bhandarwada elevated tank
Raoli HL
Powai HL-I
Total for City
II. Suburbs-    
Powai LL
Ghatkopar LL
Trombay LL
Trombay HL
Malad- I
Veravli HL
Veravli LL-I
Veravli LL-II
Veravli LL-III
Total for Suburbs
Total for Greater Bombay