Mumbai: Chulne is a village of Vasai situated in a corner. For the last four days, due to incessant rains, floodwaters reached every nook and corner of the village and drowned the entire area.
People were marooned. The electric supply was switched off leaving the residents in darkness. Batteries and invertors stopped functioning after some time.
Mobiles stopped functioning and could not be recharged. Water supply turned meaningless, as the pumps did not function. The entire scene was a repeat of last year. Residents simply do not know what to do as this has become a regular feature every monsoon.
It is of course easy to blame the uncontrolled development activities in Vasai for the situation in Chulne. Natural drainage channels have either disappeared or diverted to make way for building housing colonies causing floods in this area. It is of course also easy to blame the municipality for not cleaning the drainage and take proactive steps to prevent flooding.
It is also easy to blame locals who sold properties to big builders to construct huge housing societies without taking into consideration the topography, environment, town planning of the area, and other such issues.
But then locals say they sold their properties to builders only because they needed money to marry off daughters or send their sons to professional colleges, or to pay off bank loans.
The old residents say even in their childhood they had experienced 8-10 days of continuous rainfall, but those days the waters simply ran off into the vacant areas and no a single drop entered their houses. But now things have changed due to “development”.
While development is carried out in parts of Vasai, rainwater accumulates in other parts. There is no quick outflow, as all the natural drainage system has been tampered with, without options being put into place.
Worst-hit are the poor villagers, who cannot take care of ancestral assets. They are not part of the town planning process and don’t have ability to fight for their rights.
The problem with Chulne is being in a corner, it is at the receiving end of three roads — from Manickpur, Bhabola and Sandor, and all the three roads were flooded.
Chulne is not alone. It is a symbol of hundreds of villages all over Mumbai Metropolitan Region, flooded due to heavy rainfall, development projects and the lack of proper and effective implementation of town planning.
By BIJU CHERIAN