Mumbai rains: 2 killed, no relief for next 24 hours
Normal life in the country’s financial capital came to a grinding halt on Friday as torrential rains wreaked havoc in the city and its suburbs leading to cancellation of local train services that left thousands of commuters stranded. Torrential rains killed two persons.
The downpour also led to disruption of vehicular traffic and delayed flight operations with three services being diverted. The average rainfall recorded in 24 hours ending 8 AM (IST) on Friday is — City 188 mm, Eastern Suburbs 155 mm, Western Suburbs 172 mm, according to the meteorological department.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also issued an alert in view of the high tide (4.47 metres) expected during the day. People were also asked to avoid sea facing roads. The rains caused water-logging in almost all low-lying areas of Mumbai and its suburbs including Kurla, Chembur, Tilak Nagar, Andheri, Parel, Lower Parel, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Dombivili.
There seems to be no let up in the situation with the Meteorological Department predicting heavy to very heavy monsoon rains in some areas. The heavy rains also forced Shiv Sena to cancel its foundation day event while the Bombay High Court declared holiday on Friday as lawyers and staff could not turn up.
All courts in Mumbai including the HC will remain shut for the day due to heavy rains, officials said. One flight each of Indigo and Jet Airways had to be diverted to Ahmedabad, while a third one of Go Air had to be sent to Vadodara, said a spokesperson for the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).
While Central Railway services still remain cancelled, the Western Railway has partially resumed services on a limited stretch between Andheri and Virar. Earlier in the day, thousands of commuters leaving for offices were caught unaware on reaching the suburban railway stations as trains were being cancelled due to water-logging of tracks following heavy downpour since Thursday night.
Narrating his ordeal, Nalasopara resident Atul Panday, an executive working with Alkem Laboratories said, “Normally, it takes me 50 minutes to reach Andheri from Nalasopara, but on Friday it took around two hours.” BMC has already ordered schools across the city to remain shut in view of rains while Mumbai University (MU) deferred examinations of BA, MA and also the practical examinations of MSC.
MU Deputy-Registrar Leeladhar Bansod said all examinations have been put off to the next date as it was not possible for students to come to exam centres due to heavy rains. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the BMC control room and reviewed the situation. “I reviewed the situation with the chief secretary and top civic officials,” he said.
Fadnavis appealed to residents to venture out only if required and asked people to stay away from seafronts during high tide as it can prove “fatal”. After taking stock of the situation at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) disaster management cell, he also suggested to the public to refer to advisories being issued by the civic body on an hourly-basis before leaving home.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Metropolitan and Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said operations of Metro Rail and Mono Rail services are not affected whereas Central Railway cancelled seven outstation trains in the view of rains.
As per a statement issued by BMC, as many as 120 suction pumps are pressed into service to drain out water in low-lying areas. Sources said long distance trains are bunched up outside Mumbai as they are not getting signal to enter the city due to water-logging.
BMC PRO Vijay Khabale said the municipal corporation has already issued orders to keep schools shut for the day and that it has appealed to Mumbaikars not to approach sea shore. He said all machinery of BMC is on alert mode.
Deputy PRO of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Manoj Varade told PTI they operated 203 extra buses in view of cancellation of local train services. He said BEST converted buses on short trips into long trips to facilitate transportation of maximum passengers.
Varade said as many as six power supplying sub-stations were shut to avoid any untoward incident like short circuit. BMC also issued a statement saying it has received a good rainfall in the catchment areas of reservoirs that supply water to Mumbai. No casualties or untoward incident like falling of trees, landslide was reported,” it said. BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta visited water-logged Hindmata area and reviewed the operations.
Concerned over the continues rain in Mumbai, Aaditya Thackeray tweeted, “It’s been 12 hours of incessant rainfall of unprecedented measure, almost 300 mm in less than 12 hours, with high velocity winds and tides. I’ve been on the streets, visited Cleveland Pumping Station that faced issues because of boulders holding up the gates, and then at BMC HQ. Also been trying to coordinate tweets of all mumbaikars facing issues with BMC Disaster Room- police, traffic and ward offices from BMC HQ. Since morning Uddhavji has been coordinating. I’ve been at BMC HQ with @Subhash_Desai ji, @TawdeVinod ji, @ShelarAshish ji, Mayor, Raote ji. 300 mm is a test for any city, and neither anyone of us, nor government agencies will shy away from responsibility. Working on streets. Mithi is around the danger level Bec of rains. Please cooperate with the BMC, NDRF, Police and other authorities, when they come to help.”