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Monsoon makes Mumbai a loser

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Heavy rains lashed Mumbai since Monday and the entire city is suffering the typical consequences like every year. The overnight downpour has disturbed the lives of the Mumbaikars with more than one way — water-logged roads, disrupted traffic, delayed trains, cancelled flights, the collapse of foot overbridge in Andheri and so on.

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As per Traffic Police reports, streets were flooded near Shyam Talav, Hindmata, Oberoi Mall, WEH, CST Road, Kurla, Mahim Junction, Nehru Nagar bridge and the traffic was badly hit on Santacruz-Chembur Link Road. The Western Line of railway services too played havoc with the Andheri East and West connecting Gokhale Bridge after it caved in amid heavy rain during early hours on Tuesday. The collapse of the way over that is used by thousands of commuters each day left five people injured, while two of them are reported to be in critical condition. Ironically, reports say, BMC in 2011 has sanctioned a cost for the repair and empowered the Western Railways to conduct a check but like every incident, we end up only in the blame game. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal ordered an inquiry and announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the injured.

Nidhi Choudhari, Mumbai’s Deputy Municipal Commissioner told AV that the water-logged roads can be due to the city’s old drainage system that’s not updated to manage the 1.2 crore population. She further said, “BMC is doing its best to ensure the comfort of the commuters. Each and every department is trying to improve the situation. Mithi River is also filled with wastage and plastic. I feel the pain of the Mumbaikars.”

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While the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall to continue in parts of Mumbai and Thane till July 4, Mumbaikars anticipate a critical situation in hours to come and bitterly remember the 2014 election promises of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that too has collapsed. During his campaigning days for 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election, he promised bright days ahead for the taxpayers without water-logged and traffic-congested roads during monsoon days, potholes and with better infrastructure and improved civic services. As the state is a year away from the next Assembly polls, Mumbaikars fume over the CM’s crashing development oriented manifesto promises.

Swapnil Vaze, a daily commuter from Kalyan, regretted to have no expectation from the present administration. He went on saying, “Let’s hope that Mumbai’s transportation system improves soon. Water-logged roads are very old issues; we get promises every year but the work is yet to be done. Mumbaikars have become habitual with this misfortune.”

Among all, the worst affected are the roadside vendors and dairy farms, whose businesses have seen no penny since last two days. While the vegetable and fruits vendors are suffering the loss of mouldy items, a large quantity of dairy products got wasted due to transportation delays.

Mukesh Singh, a roadside vegetable vendor from Kandivali, said, “We are small vendors. We are not able to sell our items as we have no buyers on these rainy days. Vegetables are perishable items and heavy rainfall is causing damage. Transportation issues due to downpour make vegetable supply irregular and we are suffering losses from last 2-3 days. We just want a shelter to sell our goods peacefully during monsoon.”

Although both Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Railways promised monsoon preparedness in the metropolis and adjoining regions to ensure no halt in city’s life, the last two days had no sign of relief for the Mumbaikars. Ajoy Mehta’s “done our best to ensure the city is flood-proof” has proved to be an empty promise.

Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant called the Maharashtra government “jumlebaaj” and blamed them for giving false promises to the citizens. “The government has failed to fulfill the promises made to the people. The BMC and the government are playing the blame game to hide their faults. The civic body is trying to pass their responsibility of Tuesday’s FoB collapse incident. This is nothing but an example of misgovernance and corruption,” he said.

Years pass by but monsoon never fails to prove Mumbai a loser. Is there anybody from the administration to take the accountability of why do the potholes reappear within a couple of days after repairing the same? Why does BMC need to spend taxpayers’ money every year to repair the roads? The Mumbaikars also question the loot of public money to the Municipal Corporation and the Chief Minister. It seems the citizens will have to wait longer for the monsoons when Mumbaikars can actually enjoy the ‘Mumbai Rains’.

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