onsoon 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 systems 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 from 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. Each year heavy overnight rains lash Mumbai and adjoining areas causing waterlogging in several low-lying areas, resulting in the slow movement of peak hour rail traffic for two days. After almost more than three long months of lockdown, the city is yet to come back to normal; the COVID cases are on rising, and deaths have taken a toll above all, monsoon and garbage piles. Entire BMC is busy in pandemic and hardly any attention to the city’s other crucial issues. Mumbai has specific problems with the old drainage system limited to a few lakhs of population. Another significant issue is reaching each corner of the slum to disinfect the consisted areas within.
After COVID-19 its monsoon that is challenging the civic authorities. Encroachment of public and natural spaces that can help in solving the flood problems. A simple issue of deepening and widening of Mithi river for the past 15years, since 2005 the last severe floods. We Mumbaikar are very successful in making all sorts of efforts during each forgetting the fact that the civic authority has always failed to manage the disaster. We lack the best preventive measures and future planning commitments. The political leaders think of you when elections are approaching, and the government machinery cares only when you can offer something. So why not Mumbaikar start simple agitation to set things right by the richest corporation, not only floods, potholed roads, illegal constructions, dilapidating bridges and many more issues.
Natural or Geographical problem with Mumbai is that the city is aligned along the Arabian Sea, high tides pose a challenge for water to be pumped out of the mainland. As far as this issue is concerned, there is very little anyone could do about this. Having specific guidelines for road and building construction in order to minimize the impact of water-logging and having a well-developed drainage system does help to an extent. Having a flood-management control room should come handy. This year there are many announcements from the government let’s see how they are going to come true on their claims. 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 bodies 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 makes it to headlines. Once the rain stops and flood water recedes, everybody, including the people of Mumbai choose to forget it till the next monsoon.
The local trains on the Harbour line are always stalled or run late by 15 to 20 minutes. The trains on Central and Western lines, however, make it to move. The disaster management team is keeping a tab on the situation, but that is not enough. Every year monsoon arrives and exposes the authorities and government with continuous pouring. Every year, there is at least one picture of a BMC worker who is working towards clearing the choked drainage, the silent messages depicted in photos, but what is the point in it? Every year Government is making 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, Railway’s station escalators are not protected against weather, there are water logs everywhere on the stations to metro and skywalk, tiles are broken and holes. 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 urgency for citizens.
Every arrival of monsoon in the city, the opposition always disputes with the ruling party. Congress-NCP used to attack now BJP is attacking MVA, leaving these political parties aside from the civic body’s claim that most of the city nullahs have been cleaned. But if you visit Borivali nullah near the national park to Andheri most of them are filthy, overflown with plastic covers and all sort of garbage. The work at the Dahisar river nullah was 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 walls causing flooding during heavy rains. Lack of funds is 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 of water-borne diseases. People suffer from different kinds of strange viral infections. Most of the seashores are dirty, beaches and dumped with all sorts 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 while ensuring ourselves unrestricted use of the freedom we won so dearly. Common public and BMC both blame each other, but main issues get side-lined, above all politics kills the substance of the purpose. I have been witnessing Mumbai rains since my birth, but every year issues are 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 the 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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