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Heavy rains paralyse Mumbai

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Incessant torrential rain claimed around 20 lives in Mumbai on Tuesday. Nearly 400 mm rain in the past 24 hours caused great havoc in the city. Normal life was disrupted completely. Waterlogging at several places left people facing problems and triggered traffic jam. Many buildings are encircled or sank under rainwater. Rains flooded the airport and paralysed the lifeline of Mumbai local trains. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was seen monitoring the situation from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s control room. The Indian Navy has deployed several teams to assist the civic body to help people stranded in flooded areas.

It is worth mentioning that the BMC had claimed disaster-free monsoon this year. But the very first rain in the city unmasked the preparedness of the BMC. In Bandra East, a society behind Guru Nanak Hospital was sinking in water although two big pumps of the BMC were kept outside the society but were not working. Mumbai’s streets regularly flood during the monsoon. Almost every monsoon, the city struggles to cope with the chaos caused by the rain.

On being asked about the waterlogging in the city suburbs particularly in Bandra, Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar told Afternoon Voice, “If it rains nearly 475 mm in just 3-4 hours, waterlogging is natural anywhere. It is an emergency situation. All employees, officers, Corporators and Mayor of the BMC are working to find the solution. There was waterlogging till afternoon in Bandra but later it was cleared.”

Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan alleged that Bandra’s Kala Nagar, where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray resides, faced waterlogging and demanded the saffron party, which heads the BMC, apologise to citizens for submerging the city. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde criticised the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP over waterlogging in Mumbai and demanded structural audits of roads, bridges, and buildings in Mumbai following the wall collapse incidents.

As per reports, around 20 people were killed and 78 others injured after a compound wall collapsed on Tuesday due to heavy rains in Malad area. The government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of those who died in this tragedy. In Thane’s Kalyan, three, including a three-year-old boy, were killed after the wall of a school crashed on two houses. Total 27 people have been killed in separate incidents of a wall collapse in Maharashtra due to heavy rains. CM Devendra Fadnavis visits Shatabdi Hospital to meet persons injured in Malad Wall Collapse incident.

Dr. Bhushan Jadhav, a resident of Mulund who is a political analyst said, “BMC promised that it is monsoon-ready. Before every monsoon, they make the same promises and this year too it seems nothing is been done. Monsoon arrived late this time and the administration had enough time in hand to prepare the city to tackle heavy rains. However, BMC had to take the help of Naval forces in Kurla to evacuate 1,000 people who were stranded. We pay so much of taxes to the BMC but in return get no benefits.”

CM said, “In the light of IMD’s prediction, we had declared a holiday in schools and colleges last night and for offices in the morning. The police department and Disaster Management under the BMC are alert and helping people. Barring a few places, overall traffic has been under control.”

Actress-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar tweeted, “Disheartening to hear the news of lives lost due to Malad Wall collapse. My thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the deceased.”

On the other hand, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that it was an accident. He said, “The incident is not BMC failure. It happened because of heavy rainfall. There are several illegal constructions in Mumbai and BMC has nothing to do with it. People are happy because of the rainfall.”

Mohan Bansode, a businessman from Charkop said, “Although the city is suffering, the fault is not entirely on BMC; population and new infrastructure burden has led to this situation. Even if BMC work par excellence, such problems are far to have a solution. The drainage system is one of them as the administration failed to improve and modify the city’s drainage system with the rapid population increase. Cleaning only small drains will make no difference to the monsoon woes.”

It is remarkable that Mumbai witnessed extremely heavy rains all through Monday night. According to IMD Santa Cruz observatory, the rain recorded over a 24 hour period ending 8.30 am on Tuesday has been 375.2mm. It is the second highest rains recorded in a 24 hour period in the last 44 years. The highest rainfall in this period was during July 26, 2005, deluge of 944mm. IMD has forecasted that heavy rainfall is likely to continue in the next two days in Mumbai, Thane, and Palghar.

Indian Navy deployed various teams to provide assistance to rain hit and stranded people in Kurla area following a request by BMC. About 1,000 people have been shifted to safety with the help of NDRF, fire brigade, Naval teams as well as local volunteers.

According to Mumbai Police, a total of 52 flights cancelled, 55 diverted at Mumbai airport. As per information from airport manager, flights are landing and departing depending upon weather condition, and are mostly delayed. Several suburban and long-distance trains have been cancelled after railway tracks were flooded. BEST chief spokesperson Hanumant Gophane said, “Amid rains and waterlogging in various parts of the city, many BEST buses faced damages and breakdowns. In all, 58 buses were stuck in the water out of which 42 were removed. A total of 152 buses faced breakdown and 132 have been attended to.”

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