The much awaited monsoon is expected very soon in Greater Mumbai. And rainy season in “Aamchi Mumbai” is like a festival awaited by all Mumbaikars. However, as far as “Greater Mumbai” is concerned, it’s also and always the BMC’s monsoon-preparedness that matters to all the citizens. Every inaugural shower has 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, again and again. The huge amount said to be spent on drainage work and road repairs (especially) seem to go wasted.
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 the suburb of 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 on July 26, 2005, again, under the present “messy-circumstances and the overall situation across the city”.
Thanks to the METRO project work going on in areas like Goregaon, Chembur, Malad and so on, the condition of roads and traffic have already become a nightmare. As these projects will take a couple of years to complete, at least the roads and the areas around must be free of materials and debris.
Why are so many projects taken up months and years ago, take so long and 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 are not removed and drainage outlets not cleaned, potholes not repaired etc, this year too, Mumbaikars will have to wade through water-logged roads and lanes. To begin with, wherever large projects like the METRO, are underway, roads should be kept wide to the extent possible and no debris and construction materials should be dumped affecting the flow of traffic. Policemen must be seen at all vantage and crucial junctions to control discipline and maintain traffic flow.
With monsoon set to arrive in a couple of weeks, it’s 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.
Most importantly, MCGB must close all the manholes with wire meshes so that when manholes have to be opened due to floods, pedestrians don’t fall into it -like the tragic incident which happened two years ago claiming the life of a doctor who fell into a open manhole.
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 pot holes emerging on all our roads and which have led to serious accidents to the motorists and two wheeler drivers. This time, it must be ensured that potholes 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 city tax payer’s money. They must never ever be given contracts again.
As many parts of Maharashtra is reeling under drought, let us of course pray for good monsoon which is the need of the season. And let us enjoy the rain and not suffer from it. It is in the hands of the BMC and other officials to make the lives of the Mumbaikars enjoyable and comfortable, this monsoon season. Best wishes!