The inaugural heavy showers since last few days in suburban Mumbai has exposed the “monsoon-readiness” of the BMC and other departments. With the downpour not so heavy as compared to the one we had faced in 2005 , almost all the suburbs in the city were flooded. The wide coverage on television channels of several areas like Sion, Chunabhatti, Chembur, King’s Circle, Matunga, Dadar, Hindmata, Parel, in the Central line and Bandra, Mumbai Central, Jogeshwari, Malad-Kandivli in the western areas, getting flooded and nearly submerged in waist length waters, were just too shocking , considering that it was just the “first showers”. The assurances by all the top officials that there will be no flooding have been belied, yet again. The lumpsum amount said to be spent on drainage work and road repairs (especially) seem to have gone wasted.
Above all, what has been repeatedly observed is that there has been absolutely no regular monitoring of the city roads during the heavy downpour, as we have repeatedly witnessed big and bigger pot holes emerging on all our roads and which have led to serious accidents to the motorists and two wheelers. The authorities have never ensured to provide “pothole free” roads even this year. They have never maintained the pot holes as and when they have emerged. It is evident that the BMC have also not blacklisted the contractors who have repeatedly done worst job and have swindled the civic body and the city tax payer’s money, by providing dead cheap work and shoddy infrastructure. They must all be prosecuted this time.
Looking at the dangerous conditions of the Mumbai roads, only if our vehicles would have had mouths, they would have beaten their mouths and chests and wailed aloud. Fortunately, they are all dumb, like most of our human fellows. I have a strong question to pose. Who are those municipal officials and contractors who were employed for the upkeep of the city roads, drainage work, and entrusted with the supervision and carrying out the major repair jobs? Why are they not being penalized heavily—when we face massive water-logging, floods, extremely worst roads and so on, year after year? Why should the BMC ever spend crores on such road, drainage and other infrastructure maintenance works and assign the jobs to unprofessional and greedy contractors? I strongly suggest that it’s better not to spend crores which literally ‘go down the drains”. And not make those contractors and some BMC officials richer and richer, at the cost of citizens’ hard earned money.
(This is the first part of the article and the remaining portion will continue tomorrow)
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)