Mumbai, the financial capital of India and a coastal city, generally has humid weather due to its proximity to the Arabian Sea. It experiences severe rainfall every year. The year 1954 recorded the highest rainfall of 3452mm. However, the Mumbai rains broke all records when it rained 3475 mm last year. Along with such records, there have been severe consequences.
Heavy downpours in Mumbai leads to waterlogging and flooding many parts of the city. This results in traffic jams and public transports are also affected. The most affected areas are the flood-prone areas like Byculla, Kurla, Sion and Matunga.
Railway tracks are submerged leading to cancelling the local trains. It affects the movement of people especially those with important work. The public bus services, BEST is cancelled or the route is diverted.
Due to overnight rains, congested streets and low lying areas faced severe waterlogging, where numerous vehicles broke down in the middle of the roads causing further traffic jams.
Every time the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts heavy rainfall, it issues an orange alert, telling people not to leave homes. In this scenario who actually suffers are the people, who live in slums and weak houses. In several walls collapses, falling bridges, landslides and uprooting of trees that happen due to rains, there are mass casualties.
The question arises what does the government do to assure relief to these people. In the Malad Wall collapse, 30 people lost their lives, 339 trees were uprooted in 24 hours and a landslide occurred the second time on the western express highway. In such incidents that take place, the Government offers relief to the kin of the deceased and relocates people who lost their homes due to heavy downpours.
However, it was found that the place where these people are relocated are situated in far off places, like Chembur. These places which are not suitable for living with family, regular power cuts, not nearby schools and markets.
Even the compensation of Rs.5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to the injured was dealt with incompetence. People, either received the compensation in installments or did not receive it at all. The government hospital where the injured were taken did not receive appropriate treatment and the occupancy was almost full, leaving aside several other injured patients.
Surprisingly, BMC knew about the threat of landslide in that area. The Geological Survey of India, under the request of BMC in 2017, identified 249 vulnerable locations in 2018. The affected area of the western express highway was one of them. But since it was categorised as low vulnerable area, precautionary measures were not adhered to.
There are complaints of 17,200 small and big potholes all over Mumbai. BMC, apparently one of the richest civic body spends thousands of crores making new roads, out of which potholes emerge every year. Even after the repair work of the BMC which is not of the expected standards. Especially in a city like Mumbai, with multiple congested places
Keeping aside all such matters of immediate assistance, the BMC is concerned about demolishing high profile properties. For instance, Actor Kangana Ranaut’s Bungalow, that was reportedly charged for illegal alterations. As the BMC is run by the current Maharashtra government, it is reported that the actor was targeted because of her clash with Shiv Sena leader, Sanjay Raut.
Considering the government is attentive to such ‘incidents’ and not the actual situations with mass casualties. Certain actions should be taken for proper workings of the civic bodies. The BMC should immediately respond whenever they receive complaints about potholes, wall collapses or other such events with casualties.