Mumbai Rains: As skies open up, city shuts down
BL Soni/ FPJ Photo

The skies opened up with a vengeance on Tuesday, as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted they would, inflicting casualties on land and sea. There were periodic bursts of heavy rain throughout the day, interspersed with sunny spells and wind gusts, progressing to an intense downpour by night which spilled over into Tuesday morning. The island city recorded 241mm of rain in this period while the eastern and western suburbs received nearly 217mm and 253mm of rainfall respectively. Heavy showers were likely to continue for the next 48 hours, according to the IMD. The disruption in rail and road traffic on Tuesday, coming amid the pandemic, made it challenging for essential services workers, including healthcare providers like nurses and others on Covid-19 duty to reach hospitals.

SWEPT AWAY IN NULLAH: Tragedy struck in Santacruz when a 35-year-old woman and two of her children were swept away in a swollen nullah after their house collapsed due to heavy rainfall in suburban Santacruz here on Tuesday afternoon, according to a fire brigade official. The incident took place at around 11.30am in the Dhobighat locality, where a ground plus one-storey house attached to a nullah collapsed as rains lashed the area, the official said.

The three children, aged between one and seven years and their mother fell into the flooded nullah and were swept away, he said. While police managed to rescue a two-year-old girl before the fire brigade arrived at around 12.15pm, a search is underway for the woman and her two other children, he said. At least two fire engines, an ambulance, the NDRF and other rescue teams had been pressed into service, the official said.

ELECTROCUTED: In Thane, a man standing near a temple in Ovla on Ghodbunder Road was electrocuted around 8.30am, after accidentally touching an electric pole, following heavy overnight rains, police said. The body was sent to the civil hospital for postmortem but the deceased was yet to be identified, according to a Kasarwadavli police officer. In another morning disaster, part of the ceiling plaster of a building in Vartak Nagar fell but no casualties were reported, according to Thane Municipal Corporation's regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam.Local firemen and disaster management personnel rushed to the spot to carry out relief work, he said. Further, he said, throughout the night, fire stations in the city received more than a dozen calls about tree falls in various areas, he said, adding there was no casualty in the incidents.

Many low-lying areas in Thane and neighbouring Palghar were inundated. However, there was no report of any casualty due to the heavy rains, according to the Palghar district disaster control room said.

CAPSIZE: Meanwhile, two fishermen were missing and 11 were rescued after a boat capsized some 12 kilometres off Gorai beach between 11am and noon on Tuesday, police said. The boat, Lucky Star, with 13 fishermen on board, was caught in heavy rains and capsized, a Gorai police station officer said. "Men from another boat in the vicinity jumped in and managed to rescue 11 of the 13 on board Lucky Star. However, two are still missing and search operations are continuing for them. The vessel has also not been found," he informed. Senior Inspector Sanjay Narkar of Gorai police station said the BMC's disaster management department, fire brigade and police were involved in rescue operations. Teams from the NDRF, Naval Coast Guard have also been called in. The boat had left Gorai on August 1, stocked with provisions for a week and was making its way back to the shore on Tuesday when the mishap occurred.

TRAFFIC MESS: There was traffic diversion at various locations due to waterlogging, leading to the closure of a few roads, including Hindmata Flyover, Andheri Subway, Malad Subway, Milan Subway, King's Circle, Shindewadi & Dadar TT, Sion and Parel.At high tide, water entered huts near the Bandra sea promenade early on Tuesday but receded in the afternoon, according to a community leader, Ganga Singh. Waterlogging was also reported in the coastal village of Gorai. High tide and incessant rainfall caused sea water to enter homes, completely submerging single-storeyed houses, which remained under till the afternoon, Malvani corporator Geeta Bhandari told The Free Press Journal. Water also entered several houses and buildings in Charkop, Kandivli, after parts of Poisar river overflowed. In Goregaon too, water entered residential localities after the Oshiwara river flooded.

On Western Express Highway, there was a landslide in Kandivli early on Tuesday, affecting vehicular movement from the western suburbs towards south Mumbai, officials said. No casualty was reported in the incident, a fire control room official said. "We received a call around 7am, informing us about the debris on Ali Yavar Jung Marg (also known as the Western Express Highway)," the official said. In a bid to clear the debris, traffic was diverted to the north arm of the WEH, creating a bottleneck on the stretch, said sources. Regular commuters and those involved in emergency services were severely delayed as authorities closed some portions of the road to clear up. Vehicular movement from the area towards south Mumbai was disrupted. A car that got stuck in the debris was later removed.

The Maharashtra government announced a holiday for all its offices in Mumbai city and suburbs on Tuesday after heavy showers caused waterlogging at several places in the city and disrupted local train services and road traffic movement.

"Due to the heavy rainfall in Mumbai and the suburban region and prediction of (more) heavy rainfall by the IMD, holiday has been declared for all state government offices in the Mumbai and Mumbai suburban region today, the state relief and rehabilitation department said in an official communication.

TRACKS FLOODED: Local train services on Central Railway's Harbour and Main lines as well as on Western Railway were affected as tracks were submerged in the heavy overnight downpour, according to a civic official. "Due to high tide resulting in water logging at Wadala and Parel suburban services are suspended on main line and harbour line.However, shuttle services are running between Vashi and Panvel & Thane and Kalyan-beyond," Central Railway's Chief Public Relation Officer Shivaji Sutar tweeted. "No suburban trains are held up in between stations. Dn mail/express trains are being rescheduled," he added.

On WR, the water level on tracks between Dadar and Prabhadevi reached 200 mm, an official said. All lines were affected in this section. Train movement was stopped at Dadar, but suburban services were running between Bandra and Dahanu Road, he said.

After the heavy showers, water entered the Matunga police station and the road outside it was also inundated.

Several vehicles, which suffered engine problems due to the heavy downpour, were seen lying abandoned on roads.

Some incidents of tree fall were also reported, a civic official said, adding that a big tree fell on Andheri- SEEPZ road, disrupting traffic movement there.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) appealed to residents to stay at home and urged commercial establishments, except those providing essential services, to remain closed on Tuesday.

The Bombay High Court adjourned its virtual hearings in various cases as many staff members could not reach the court in south Mumbai, an official said.

The high court would hear matters on Wednesday, an official said.

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Free Press Journal