The prayers of the people of Mumbai have finally been answered. The hot and relatively humid weather of Mumbai was finally put to rest as the city welcomed moderate showers in the evening yesterday.
A pleasant change for the people; but this brings up a Big Question– Are we prepared for the rains??
The 26th July Rain wash out was a big question mark on the credibility of the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Those of you who don’t remember; on the 26th of July the city recorded 24-hour rainfall figure of 994 mm, the heaviest of all time. Large numbers of people were stranded on the road, lost their homes, and many walked for long distances back home from work that evening. After the storm settled, big promises were made by the Government and the BMC to avoid flooding and water logging in the city, several projects were announced by the management. The Brimstowad project was set for a complete overhaul of the city’s drain network and a proposed plan for eight pumping stations to pump out flood water.
Seven years have passed since then, only two pumping stations are ready and only 15 of the 58 Brimstowad projects are complete.
For a Mumbaikar, delays and false promises are as common as not finding a rickshaw at Andheri Station. But the rain gods aren’t here to listen to promises, Over the years the monsoon season has come and gone, the city has experienced the same challenges, but the civic body has maintained its tried tested short term methods; up gradation of its disaster management cell, setting up a monsoon website to guide citizens about traffic and water logging situation during rains, installing dewatering pumps at flood-prone spots and more.
However, the purpose isn’t solved. Though the civic body has stepped up its measure to curtail the impact of rains, it fails to hold up on larger needs.
The long-term measures taken up by the BMC for a permanent solution to flooding have been not looked into as they should have, but the civic body continues to spend crores every year for desilting the drainage amenities. The Brimstowad project which should have been done and running a decade ago, but is still in the pipeline since the 90’s. Out of the 6 incomplete pumping stations, only 2 are underway construction, the contractors have been asked to pull up their socks and fats track the work however there hasn’t been a significant improvement as the BMC has rather been too stringent and carefree on the matter. Every year, the city experiences water logging and flooding at railways stations, subways. Places like Andheri, Parle, Dadar, and Milan Subway are on high alerts every monsoon. The list doesn’t end here; this year too the international and national airports like the Chattrapati Shivaji airport or the Juhu Airport are reported to face severe water logging. The civic Body and the airport authorities play the blame game every year, the railway authorities too aren’t far behind. Every year railway passengers experience delays and less frequency of trains. The third mode of transport in Mumbai, the BEST too has reported that it would be cutting off power in events of extreme rain. With the three modes of transport in Mumbai paralyzed, the coming days look bleak for a Mumbaikar.
The Weather Reports have also claimed heavy rainfall in the upcoming days, the BMC have announced to install CCTV cameras in high waterlogged areas but does that serve the purpose?? The answer is No.
A clear Drainage system is required for proper functioning of the rain water but time and again the civic body has failed to live up to the need of the hour.
Another year, Another Hope, Another series of Blame Game.