Mumbai: Twenty-two people died in a wall collapse incident in Mumbai, paralysed by incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day, as many parts of the financial capital remained waterlogged, prompting authorities to declare a holiday on Tuesday. Fourteen people died in rest of Maharashtra in rain-related incidents since Monday, officials said.
Heavy rains lashing Mumbai since Sunday threw rail, air and road traffic out of gear, with several trains and flights being cancelled. With IMD forecasting of heavy rains for Tuesday, authorities declared a holiday in the city and adjoining regions, asking people to avoid stepping out of their houses. Twenty-one people were killed and 78 injured in a wall collapse incident in the northern suburb of Malad in Mumbai following heavy rains on Tuesday morning. One more person succumbed to injuries late Tuesday night, raising the toll to 22.
The injured were admitted to civic-run hospitals and 15 of them were discharged after primary treatment, a senior civic official told reporters here. Efforts by rescue workers to get a 15-year-old girl out of the debris of the wall which collapsed in Malad, proved futile as she was brought out dead. Two persons died in Malad after they were locked up in a car flooded with rain water. One person was electrocuted in Vile Parle and a security guard was killed in a wall collapse in suburban Mulund.
In Pune, six labourers were killed and three injured after a wall collapsed in Ambegaon area late Monday night. A wall collapse in Kalyan in Thane district early Tuesday killed three people, officials said. In Buldhana district, a 52-year-old woman was killed on the spot by a bolt of lightning. Altogether, 54 flights were diverted and 52 cancelled at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport due to inclement weather. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the BMC Disaster Management control room and took stock of the situation.
Fadnavis reviewed issues like railway traffic, road traffic movement and areas where more focus and assistance is required. "As a precautionary measure and as per IMD advisory on heavy rains, we declared holiday Tuesday," Fadnavis said. "We need to remain alert for the next two days," he added. As rains continued to lash the city, water logging was reported at Airport Colony, Vakola Junction, Postal colony, near Chunabhatti Railway station and Vakola road, a BMC official said.
Over 1,000 people were evacuated from Kranti Nagar, Kurla, to prevent any untoward incidents due to the overflowing Mithi river, he said. The Mumbai University also postponed the exam of B.Sc Computer Science for first and second year students due to heavy rains, an official said. A Central Railway (CR) official said CR personnel, with the help of RPF jawans, rescued thousands of passengers stranded in local trains and served them tea, biscuits and other food items at stations.
A senior official of the Western Railway said its suburban services were running between Churchgate and Virar even if the frequency was less. Many long-distance trains of the central and western railway were either cancelled or terminated ahead of final destination due to heavy rainfall, the official said. Power utility companies also suspended the supply in some suburban areas of Mumbai as a precautionary measure. The heavy downpour also forced Fadnavis to cancel his scheduled ground-breaking function of construction of a new building for MLAs.
BMC additional commissioner Ashwini Joshi said an inquiry will be held into the Malad wall collapse and any official found guilty will be punished. Fadnavis made a similar announcement in the state legislature, announcing a high-level probe into the wall collapse. The Malad wall collapse issue also figured in the state legislature on the last day of the monsoon session Tuesday, with former deputy CM Ajit Pawar seeking dissolution of the Shiv Sena-ruled BMC. Monsoon was active over the entire north Konkan belt, including Mumbai, with IMD predicting heavy to very rainfall over most places and extremely heavy rain at a few places.
On the IMDs forecast, Joshi said the intensity of the rainfall is likely to get intense during the next 24 hours in Mumbai and suburbs. From 8.30 am on Monday to 8.30 am on Tuesday, BMCs weather stations recorded an average rainfall of 163 mm in the island city, 329 mm in the eastern suburbs and 309 mm in western suburbs, she said. The disaster management cell of BMC received over 3,593 complaints, including those about water logging, wall collapse and tree branch falling on the Helpline No 1916. "The next two days are going to be very critical to us and our machinery is geared to face any eventuality during excessive rains," Joshi said.
All the 1,400 de-watering pumps of BMC are deployed at 53 flood-prone spots, including 22 chronic spots and assistant municipal commissioners have been asked to supervise their territory, she said. Joshi blamed "geographic phenomena" for water-logging in the city and said the BMCs monsoon preparedness was up to the mark. "Heavy rains in a short period of time coupled with high tide in the city resulted in water-logging in several areas," the IAS officer said. The Central Railway resumed its suburban services late Tuesday afternoon by running a few special trains in Up and Down directions, giving relief to commuters. Private weather agency Skymet said Mumbai is at "serious risk of flooding" between Wednesday and Friday.