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Mumbaikars hope for a risk-free monsoon

The much awaited monsoon is expected very soon in Greater Mumbai.  And rainy season in “Aamchi Mumbai” is like a festival awaited by Mumbaikars.  However, as far as “Greater Mumbai” is concerned, it’s always the BMC’s monsoon-preparedness that matters to all the citizens. 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, again and again. The huge amount said to be spent on drainage work and road repairs 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 Dombivli. 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, Malad, the condition of roads and traffic have already become a nightmare. 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 road is 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 waterlogged roads and lanes. To begin with, wherever large projects like the Metro, are under way, roads should be kept wide to the extent possible and no debris and construction materials to 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 less than two months at our disposal, for monsoon to begin, 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 penalised for shoddy jobs, year after year.

Most importantly, MCGM 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 last year 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 potholes emerging on all our roads and which have led to serious accidents to the motorists and two wheelers. This time, it must ensure 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.

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 ‘pawoos’ and not suffer from the rains. 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!

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

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