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Is BMC prepared for monsoon?

The much awaited monsoon is expected to arrive very soon in Mumbai. Rainy season in “Aamchi Mumbai” is like a festival awaited by all Mumbaikars.  However, as far as the city is concerned, it’s always the BMC’s monsoon-preparedness that matters to all the citizens. Every inaugural showers have always exposed the “monsoon-readiness” of the BMC and other civic bodies. With a downpour lasting just a couple of hours, many areas in Mumbai gets heavily flooded. The assurances by all the top officials that there will be no flooding have always been belied repeatedly. The lumpsum amount spent on drainage work and road repairs go wasted due to water logging.

Hence my priority would be that the state government, MMRDA and BMC should take earnest efforts  to stop water logging, since the main problems are dug-up roads, uncovered manholes, protruding cables, mounds of uncleared garbage and debris strewn around every street. Even today you can see many roads being dug up for one reason or the other, roads concretising work left incomplete and so on. For example, in Dombivli, several main roads are dug up and mounds of debris lie uncleared due to concretization work going on for months. Hope these are completed in all respects before the onset of the monsoon.

I shudder to think what would be the consequences if the city were to witness heavy rains like the downpour of July 26, 2005, again, under the present “messy-circumstances and the overall situation prevailing across the city.”

Why several projects undertaken several years ago remain incomplete, leaving several manholes open and nullahs uncleaned? Is it not the responsibility of the civic authorities to ensure that the work is completed well before the arrival of the monsoon and ensure that the roads are free of potholes? If the projects are not completed and debris not removed, drainage outlets not cleaned, potholes not repaired  etc, this year too, Mumbaites will have to wade through water logged roads and lanes .

It’s therefore, very important that the government and the BMC should prioritise attending to basic infrastructure provisions and alleviate the problems of the people on the whole, as stated above. We must have all the basic amenities and precautions in the first place. And, above all, every project and a facility must have a firm schedule and deadline for completion and the contractors involved (especially in the road maintenance works) must be heavily penalized for shoddy jobs, year after year.

Above all, what is more important and crucial is the regular monitoring of the city roads during the heavy downpour, as we have repeatedly witnessed our  big and bigger potholes emerging on all our roads and which have led to serious accidents to the motorists and two wheelers. This time, it must ensured that pot holes as and when emerged, are duly filled in (not with bricks and stones) with pucca work done and traffic cops must ensure that accidents are prevented. Blacklist the contractors who do the worst job and swindle BMC’s and the tax payer’s money. Contracts must not be awarded to them in the future. Let us of course pray for good monsoon which is the need of the season for the state and the nation. And let us enjoy the rain and not face hardships from it. The onus lies on the BMC and other officials to ease the woes of Mumbaikars.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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