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Rain rage claimed many lives in Mumbai

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Water logs, open potholes, and wall collapse, nothing is new to Mumbai. People elect the same government for a time and again and the politicians succeed in fooling the voters. The saga continues but the question is that, who should be blamed?

Twenty-four people were killed and over 60 injured in a wall collapse in the northern suburb of Malad in Mumbai. Such incidences are not new to Mumbai and maintaining the civic facilities is the job of the BMC, which also happens to be the richest civic body in India. However, the leaders blamed monsoon instead of the civic body.

Shiv Sena leader claimed that the BMC was prepared for monsoon but calamities like wall collapse happen due to heavy rains. Besides blaming the monsoon, they also sought to hold people responsible for the catastrophes. Well, even such statements are not new to the public. Accepting the fault and behaving responsible is not their job. The Sena-BJP government is arrogant, corrupt, and incompetent that has left Mumbai in the lurch in the flood season.

A wall collapsed on hutments in Pimpripada area of Malad East due to heavy rainfall. There were many dead bodies under the debris. A compound wall collapsed, trapping people living in shanties adjacent to the wall.

There are predictions by various agencies, that there can be a further serious risk of flooding” between July 3 and July 5. Close to 200 millimetres or more rain per day is likely during this period, which can hamper normal life. Mumbai is at serious risk, predicts Skymet. IMD has also predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Mumbai and its suburbs over the next 48 hours, and a similar situation is expected in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions as well. It also advised the tourists to not visit mountain areas since heavy rainfall is expected across the state of Maharashtra. Spells of light to moderate rain and thundershower going to continue over Mumbai, Mumbai suburban, Palghar, Pune, Raigarh, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Sindhudurg, and Thane districts of Mumbai and Konkan coast during next 2-3 days.

In spite of all such predictions, the ruling party and authorities engaged in blame game but none is planning to address the disaster ahead. The next two days are going to be very critical; so, Mumbaikars need to take care of themselves than looking for any help from anyone. People should remain vigilant over the next two days and closely track weather bulletins. At least 24 people were killed in Mumbai alone and several others were injured after a compound wall collapsed on hutments in Malad East early on Tuesday morning.

Eleven bodies recovered dead and 23 feared missing after a dam breached in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri. After this, there was a flood-like situation in downstream villages. At least 12 houses from a hamlet adjacent to the dam were washed away. Teams from local police, district disaster management cell, fire-brigade along with local villagers started the searching for missing villagers. Fourteen people died in the rest of Maharashtra in rain-related incidents since Monday. In Pune, six labourers were killed and three injured after a wall collapsed in Ambegaon area late Monday night. A wall collapsed in Kalyan also took many lives.

The prevalence of illegal housing in India is due to a lack of housing coupled with high population growth, and illegal buildings are attractive to lower-income people because of the low housing costs. Many people moved to the greater Mumbai area in search of jobs, and without affordable housing, thousands sleep in slums or on the streets.

According to the report of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, there are approximately 19 million families with inadequate housing. To meet the demands, there are many buildings constructed illegally. Further, some builders do not follow proper building practices and laws or execute proper safety measures. Poor construction materials are also to be blamed in these circumstances.

Within the Mumbai region, there are estimated to be hundreds of illegal structures. In 2010, the government of Maharashtra reported that there were about 500,000 illegal buildings within the Thane district and in 2019, they have doubled.

Ahead of the monsoon season, the civic body of Mumbai has released a survey report saying that 499 buildings across Mumbai have been classified under C1 category, deeming them dangerous. In its report, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has claimed that the number of buildings falling in the C1 category has fallen from 619 buildings in the previous year.

BMC classified those buildings in three categories, namely C1, C2, and C3. While C1 is the tag given to dangerous buildings, structures in need of major structural repairs are classified under C2 and ones, which need minor repairs, fall in the C3 category. A large number of the buildings falling in the C1 category are in N-Ward which comprises parts of Ghatkopar followed by K west and T. While 64 of the 499 buildings are in N-Ward, there are 47 such structures in T-Ward and 41 in K-west-Ward.

An official with the civic body said that several dangerous buildings have been demolished over the years owing to their dilapidated condition and some of the buildings were repaired and are not dangerous anymore. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) declared 23 buildings “extremely dangerous” to live in. The authority, as part of its annual pre-monsoon survey, has asked 815 tenants of these buildings to vacate the structures before the rains. But later on, the corruption has muted the concerns. Unless and until people realise the value of their lives, no BMC or no politician is going to really feel the pain.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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