Expect heavy to very heavy rainfall for the rest of the week, this was the prediction made by weather department. When it rains the entire city traffic comes to a halt in Mumbai, India’s second most important city in the country after Delhi. Every year at least a dozen people get washed away in flood water here, as usual nobody cares. Monsoon puts our governments, city civic bodies and urban planners to shame every year. But nobody cares. Major cities across India resembling huge water body when the skies open up is a regular feature during monsoon. When it pours, life comes to a halt and lakhs of people suffer. Mumbai receives more rain than many other major cities in India; the commercial capital of the country suffers the most and grabs headlines. Once the rain stops and flood water recedes, everybody including the people of Mumbai choose to forget it till the next monsoon.
Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Srinagar, Guwahati, Jaipur and even Dehradun and Lucknow have the same issues during monsoon. It exposes the serious lapses in our urban planning and more so in its execution. Unless we get our basic drainage system right, we can’t save our cities from monsoon fury. The need of the hour is investing in better, effective drainage system across all major cities. We need to build good quality wide roads with no potholes to decongest the cities when the skies open up. For that we need more money, world class technology and political will and no corruption while delivering the work. Mumbai needs urgent attention of the concerned authorities. If we can’t protect them from rain, we better forget our plans or dreams of making them model cities or smart cities or world cities. Heavy overnight rains lashed Mumbai and adjoining areas causing water logging in several low-lying areas, resulting in slow movement of peak hour rail traffic since two days. The local trains on the Harbour line were running late by 15 to 20 minutes. The trains on Central and Western lines, however, are running on time. The disaster management team is keeping a tab on the situation but that is not enough. The city recorded 477.2mm rain since June 1. With the average rainfall for June in Mumbai is 523.1mm, the city has 46mm left to cover to surpass its monthly mean rainfall.
Every year monsoon arrives and exposes the authorities and government with ongoing pouring. There is at least one picture of a BMC worker who is working towards clearing the choked drainage, the silent messages depicted in pictures but what is the point in it? Every year the government prepares budgets for drainage and those people are doing their jobs. The ever-procrastinating people, who are not answerable to anybody, waste much of government funds. Just one or two rains hit Mumbai, but look at the conditions around, Railways station escalators are not protected against weather, waterlogging is witnessed everywhere on the stations to metro and skywalk, tiles are broken. Of course there are attempts being made to ‘advance’ the facilities to passengers by installing escalators worth nearly 80 lakhs per set, which can speed up enough to cope with the rising demand of hurry for citizens.
Before the arrival of monsoon in the city, the opposition always disputes with ruling party, then BJP used to attack now Congress and NCP is attacking, leaving these political parties aside the civic body’s claim that most of the city nullahs have been cleaned. But if you visit Borivali nullah near national park to Andheri most of them are filthy, over flown with plastic covers and all sort of garbage. The work at the Dahisar river nullah is yet not complete. At many nullahs the parapet walls have not been built. The nullahs of Dahisar River, Chandavarkar nullah did not have proper parapet wall causing flooding during heavy rains. Lacks of funds are one of the reasons that parapet walls have not been built at some nullahs. The NL Complex nullah, which starts from Dahisar east near Sanjay Gandhi National Park and flows into the Mira Bhayander creek, is still not cleaned properly. In case of high tide, there are chances that water might go backwards and flood some areas, instead of flowing into the sea. This is the main cause for water borne diseases. People suffer with different kind of strange viral infections.
Seashores are dirty, beaches are dumped with all sort of waste. Lakes are stinking. Since a large number of Mumbaiites are used to urinating, spitting and defecating in public places, rains promptly absolve us of the guilt of our reckless conduct. In this way, we can continue to blame the authorities for not making our areas hygienic and mosquito free whilst assuring ourselves unrestricted use of the freedom we won so dearly. Common people and BMC both blame each other but main issues get sidelined, above all politics kills the substance of the purpose. I have been witnessing Mumbai rains since my birth, but every year issues remain the same without any solution.
There is no other season or weather that can fill one with as deep and different emotions as the rains. But every season the stories are same just the rulers may change. You voted for this government with great faith, hope they live up to your expectations and do not leave in monsoon mess of Mumbai.
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