Mumbai: Mumbai is indeed a ‘haadson ka shehr’. The cliché revisits the city every year during Monsoon, bringing in its wake chaos and destruction. This is the kind of thing that is expected to happen in a small mofussil town, not the commercial capital of the country. Sample this: At least 24 people died and more than 80 were injured in three separate wall collapse incidents in Kurar village (Malad), Kalyan and Mulund, respectively, as heavy rain lashed parts of the city. In Pune, 6 labourers were killed when a wall collapsed in Ambegaon area. After factoring in the death by bolt of lightning in Buldhana, two cases of drowning, two electrocution deaths at Mira Road and other mishaps, the agencies put the death toll at 35.
And as is customary -- for the fifth consecutive day -- local train services were disrupted, outstation trains were terminated, roads flooded and flights went for a toss. But the human loss was more than palpable. In the Kalyan incident, three people, including a three-year-old boy, died while one was injured after the wall of the National Urdu School collapsed around 12.30am on Tuesday.
Another incident of a road cave-in was reported near a construction site in Chandivli and locals claimed it was likely some people had been washed away. A few vehicles and auto-rickshaws were stuck in the cave-in, which was at least 10 feet deep. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the rainfall in the last 24 hours was the highest since that recorded in the July 26, 2005, deluge.
“In the last 24 hours, Mumbai received 375mm of rainfall on Monday, making it the maximum July downpour that the city has seen over a 24-hour period, breaking the record of 1974,” said an official from SkyMet. In a pre-emptive move, the Maharashtra government declared a precautionary public holiday on Tuesday in Mumbai, with Chief Minister Devendra
Fadnavis requesting people to stay indoors unless it was imperative for them to go out.Around 2am on Tuesday, a compound wall in the Pimpripada area of Malad east collapsed, trapping the people living in shanties adjacent to it under the debris, according to civic officials. “On receiving this information, a team of the Mumbai fire brigade, the local police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with sniffer dogs, reached the spot and took control of the situation,” said an official.
Another official informed, the injured rescued from the debris were taken to different hospitals in the city. “Thirty-four people injured in the Malad incident were admitted to the Jogeshwari Trauma Hospital, while 51 injured were taken to Shatabdi Hospital in Kandivli,” said officials.
Students, who were supposed to come to Mumbai on Tuesday for verification of their documents prior to securing undergraduate admission in the MBBS, BDS and BAMS courses, have now been asked to come on July 5 to complete the process. An official from Mumbai University said, due to heavy rains, MU had postponed exams for BSc Computer Science. “The revised schedule will be announced soon,” he said.
A spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said until noon on Tuesday, at least 55 incoming flights, 26 of which were international, were diverted. There were 13 'go-arounds', 18 cancellations, four of which were international and 24 departures, four of which were international. Road traffic continued to be sluggish for the second consecutive day and the suburbs in many areas were waterlogged and the subways in Andheri, Jogeshwari, Vile Parle and Dahisar were flooded.
“Mumbai was hit by traffic snarls on the Western Express Highway (WEH) on Tuesday morning, which was regulated by the afternoon. The Andheri subway was shut for vehicular movement on Tuesday as well and the traffic was diverted to SV Road, similar to that near National College. Traffic was diverted from the Linking Road to SV Road due to waterlogging, but it was brought under control after the incessant rains stopped near mid-morning,” said an official.
“In the past 12 hours, the city has received an unprecedented 300 to 400 mm rain, the highest in the past decade. The existing drainage systems are unable to cope with such a heavy downpour, coupled with the high tide this afternoon,” CM Fadnavis said.
The Central Railway operated services in limited corridors due to waterlogging on the railway tracks. “Trains will run in the CSMT-Andheri-Goregaon section, from Vashi to Panvel on the Harbour line, from Thane to Vashi and Panvel on the trans-Harbour line and from CSMT to Thane, Karjat and Khopoli sections," said Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer (CPRO), CR.
However, there were no disruptions on Western Railway on Tuesday and trains were running, albeit slightly late, between Churchgate and Virar. “Water levels came down at Nalasopara and trains were running with some delay on account of low visibility due to heavy rains and the arrival of outstation trains,” said Ravinder Bhakar, CPRO, WR.
CR officials said suburban services were badly affected from Monday night, owing to the submergence of tracks in low-lying areas like Thane, Mulund and Kurla and Sion. The signalling system became dysfunctional, forcing the railway administration to suspend local, as well as long-distance train movement.
More than 20 long-distance trains on CR and WR were either cancelled or short-terminated at a station near Mumbai, officials said. For the convenience of passengers, the WR ran a special train between Dadar and Valsad on Tuesday evening.