Mumbai won't sink but brace up for coastal hazards: Minister

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Government on Tuesday assured the Rajya Sabha that Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, won't submerge by the year 2050 on account of rising sea level.

Scotching the fears expressed by Congress veteran Motilal Vora, Minister for science and earth sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan said during the question time that the slow rise in sea level alone may not impact the coasts immediately.

He, however, put a rider to his reply, noting that the sea level rise can exacerbate the impact of coastal hazards such as storm surge, tsunami, coastal flooding, high waves and coastal erosion in the low-lying coastal areas.

The minister said the sea level at the Mumbai coast will increase by 3.33 cm in 2050 from the current level, adding that its direct impact on the coastal cities has not been worked out.

He said the Mumbai region does not come under "very vulnerable class" as assessed in the maps prepared by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS), an autonomous institute under the Earth Sciences Ministry, to assess probable implications of rise in the sea level.

Asked about the possibility of the major parts of southern Mumbai inundated at least one a year by the year 2040-50 due to high tide, the minister assured that the available data and model studies do not indicate such flooding.

He said INCOIS has estimated the long-term trends in sea level change using data recorded by the sea level gauge of Mumbai located at Apollo Bandar. Net sea level rise of 0.74 mm/year is estimated on the basis of the tide data collected during 1878-2005 that shows in 3.33 cm rise in the sea level at Mumbai coast by 2050, the minister added.

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