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MUMBAI : The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will set up a desalination plant with 200 MLD capacity per day to overcome water shortage in Mumbai, an official said on Wednesday.

The standing committee of the civic body has given in-principal approval to set up the desalination plant and for appointment of consultants to prepare a detailed project report, a release issued by the civic body stated.

The committee gave an in-principle approval towards payment of charges worth 5.50 crore for preparing a detailed project report and 40 lakh for bid documents, the civic body's statement said.

A four-member panel chaired by the municipal commissioner will be set up for the implementation of the project, the release said.

According to the BMC, the desalination plant, with a capacity of 200 MLD water per day, will require a capital investment of 1,600 crore and 1,920 crore in operational costs for the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the BJP, which is in the Opposition in the Shiv Sena-ruled civic body, has raised questions about the need for the project and the expenses for the same.

It also lambasted the BMC for not inviting tenders or expression of interest, while appointing the consultant.

"If 900 million litre of water leakage is prevented in Mumbai city, is there any need for additional 200 million litre from this project?" Prabhakar Shinde, the BJP's group leader in the civic body said, adding that the ruling party should stop wasting public money.

According to the BMC, M/s I.D.E Water Technologies had submitted an unsolicited proposal, when the civic body was thinking about desalination of seawater to overcome water issues.

The company had submitted the proposal as per the Maharashtra Infrastructure Development Enabling Authority Act 2018, the release stated.

The project will be implemented by inviting bids as per Swiss challenge model, the civic body stated.

As per the company's proposal, the plant needs 6 hectares of land and up to 8 hectares, if the project is expanded, the release said.

The BMC said it has identified 12 hectares of government land under control of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation at Manori in the western suburbs and has started communication with the tourism authority for the land.

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