Massive traffic jams across the city, especially in areas that are badly flooded including Dadar, Parel, Sion, Andheri, Jogeshwari and Santa Cruz. Residents complained that brand new water pumping stations on which the civic body spent 200 crores failed to work after being damaged by rocks. Mumbai has once again stuck in water. This is the situation in the second spell of rains which is coming in installment in the island city.
Once again, clouds are showering in my lovely city Mumbai. Now, I can see water loggings, bumpy rides on potholes; struggle to get in to a suburban train and war like situation dealing with autorickshaw drivers. After one month of dry spell, rainfalls have once again exposed the BMC and the state government, saying that your situation is not better than last month. As usual, the blame game has begun between the municipality and the government. However, this time government is showing leniency on BMC as Shiv Sena which rules the civic body is an alliance partner in state government with BJP.
Before the arrival of monsoon in the city, the opposition always points fingers at ruling party, earlier BJP used to attack now Congress and NCP are doing the same job leaving these political parties aside the civic body’s claim that most of the city nullahs have been cleaned. People suffer with different kinds of strange viral infections. Sea shores remain dirty and beaches are dumped with all sort of waste. Lakes are stinking. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had planned to remove around 3,90,000 cubic metres of silt in May. They should have removed 1600 truckloads of silt every day. Since a large number of Mumbaiites are used to urinating, spitting and defecating in public places, rains promptly absolve us of the guilt of our reckless conduct. In this way, we can continue to blame the authorities for not making our areas hygienic and mosquito free whilst assuring ourselves unrestricted use of the freedom we won so dearly. Common public and BMC both blame each other but main issues get sidelined, above all politics kills the substance of the purpose. I have been witnessing Mumbai rains since my birth, but every year issues remain unsolved.
The BMC had earlier issued a report detailing the progress made in desilting the nullahs and the Mithi River. The report claimed that around 90 per cent of the nullahs and the Mithi river desiltation target had been achieved by the end of May. But June has already passed by and the fate of Mithi River remains unchanged. BMC planned to dump the entire silt outside Mumbai. Now, we pay Rs. 170 to a worker for clearing a cubic metre of silt. Any other worker would demand Rs. 400. How will the work be completed in time?
Various desilting works across major and minor nullahs were still incomplete; BMC officers revisited these nullahs and promised to desilt them thoroughly. The officials said that despite cleaning, nullahs sometimes appeared clogged due to excessive dumping of garbage by slum dwellers living along the edges of these nullahs. BMC assured that the work on cleaning the nullah has started and the floating material will be removed regularly by BMC workers.
If we look at other side, nature always has something to give. In a city like Mumbai or for that matter any Indian city facing perpetual water shortages, rains signify the abundance of this scarce commodity. Many people just walk in the rain to have a bath they had promised themselves long back. Many leave buckets and pans in the open to fill these up as never before. Rains in Mumbai also result in essential cleanliness of our foul surroundings or at least some of the waste is hidden in the waters. The long-lasting dust settles down. Since we have this compelling urge to litter, rains instantly carry our wrong-doings away from us. Rains are loved by the Mumbai media ever starved to break news. During other seasons there is nothing much to report. But, during rains the media can forever indulge in such populist topics as trashing authorities for being insensitive to people’s basic needs.
Every year, there is at least one picture of a BMC worker who is working towards clearing the choked drainage, the silent messages depicted in pictures but, what is the point in it? Government is making budgets for drainage and those people are doing their jobs, why to even bother in praising for the work? They signed up for this, by themselves! Much of the government funds are wasted by the ever procrastinating people who are not answerable to anybody. Thankfully, the privatisation has spurred those workers to work hard and be answerable.
If escalators are not protected against weather then they will rust and become non-functional even before the inauguration! Even thinking of non-functional machine makes me smile that when delegators come for inauguration and escalator don’t work at that time. Of course, there are attempts being made to ‘advance’ the facilities to passengers by installing escalators worth nearly Rs. 80 lakhs per set which can speed up enough to cope with the rising demand of commuters. Ideally, the escalators are powerful enough and require more electricity than an elevator, depending on the number of people joining it. So, what next? Definitely, price of railway tickets will go up. Again we commuters have to bear the price of new facility given to us. It is funny to read certain posts on Facebook where people comment and like heavily. We live in a city where a pizza is delivered before the police could arrive. Such is the scenario for commuters, railways does require their employees to be disciplined and firm in their actions but, someone should also keep up with the ownership to help railways spend our money, wisely.
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