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Mumbai rains: Four days of torrential downpour derailed city's infrastructure, killed 10; BMC says new flood points emerge

Mumbai caught a break from incessant and heavy rains which have been battering the city since Friday (6 July). On Wednesday, the city received sunshine and much-needed respite after four days of torrential downpour. With a pause in the rains, the city's suburban railway network also resumed full operations on Wednesday. Local train services were badly hit on Tuesday following waterlogging at several stations on the Western line.

Road traffic was also reported to be moving smoothly on Wednesday after four days of heavy rains, which had crippled life in the city. In the first 10 days of July, the city received 864.5 mm of rain, which is nearly what it gets in an entire month, the MeT department said.

Railways

The suburban railway system, considered as Mumbai's lifeline, had been suspended between Nallasopara and Virar stations on the Western line on Tuesday, but resumed operations on Wednesday. "We started our services from Churchgate (in South Mumbai) to Dahanu Road (in Palghar district) on Wednesday morning with a speed restriction between Bhayander and Virar stations where water level did not permit us to run the trains at the regular speed," a senior railway official told PTI.

Mumbai received as much rain in the first 10 days of July as it does in an average month. PTI

Mumbai received as much rain in the first 10 days of July as it does in an average month. PTI

"The speed restriction resulted in cancellation of 130 suburban trains. Fifteen long-distance trains of the Western Railway were also cancelled," PTI quoted the official as saying. In addition to this, 19 express trains had to be short-terminated (terminated on an earlier station) while four express trains were partially cancelled.

The local train services on the central line were running late on Wednesday but were operational. Tuesday's downpour had caused flooding at Vasai, Nallasopara and Virar stations. With tracks laying submerged in 650 mm of water between Vasai and Virar, damaging electrical cables, signaling and other overhead equipment, over 300 passengers and commuters stranded in stationery trains were rescued by teams in boats and taken to safety along with their luggage.

Reports also said that several inbound and outbound long-distance trains, including even the Rajdhani Express, August Kranti Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express among others, were either cancelled, terminated en route or diverted on the Mumbai-Gujarat and Mumbai-New Delhi sectors.

Western Railway spokesman G Mahapurkar said over 16,500 food packets and water was distributed with the help of NGOs to thousands of stranded passengers at various stations and in 23 trains held up en route on the network and efforts were on to restore services after the waters receded.

Airports

Arrivals and departures at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport were both delayed on Tuesday by over 25 minutes, reports said, even though there were no cancellations. The city's Juhu airport in Vile Parle, however, was flooded most of the day, halting operations for helicopter and small aircraft.

Even though no major incident was reported, particularly anxious moments were experienced at the domestic airport when an Air India Express flight IX-213 with 89 passengers, while landing on the alternate runway 14 at around 3 pm, overshot the runway by 10 feet and stopped on the paved stopway.

An AIX spokesperson said that though the aircraft landed correctly and used maximum braking, it could not stop owing to the slippery conditions following heavy rains and stopped only on the paved stopway. There was no damage to the aircraft or injuries to the passengers and crew.

Death toll

Unabated rains over four days starting last week caused three deaths in Mumbai city while seven more deaths were reported from Thane, Navi Mumbai and its adjoining areas. The Indian Express reported on Sunday that Parshuram Bastin (74) and Rajendra Singh (60) died in south Mumbai's Azad Maidan area after a tree fell on them near Metro cinema. On Monday, 18-year-old Nagendra Nagarjun died after falling into a pothole at Malad.

A 20-year-old youth also drowned at the Barrage Dam near Badlapur on Tuesday, The Indian Express report added. In addition to this, a wall collapse in Ambarnath in suburban Mumbai killed 15-year-old Kiran Ghaiwat, while 48-year-old Prashant Thanage rammed his car into a divider in Ulhasnagar due to low visibility, resulting in his death.

In Palghar district, the body of a villager who died due to cardiac arrest on Tuesday had to be taken to a hospital by a boat because ambulances couldn't reach the flooded village, an official said. Another villager who went missing near a waterfall was declared dead on Tuesday.

Furthermore, there were at least four minor instances of house wall crashes, 43 tree collapses and 30 short-circuit fires incidents, but no casualties were reported from these.

Schools and colleges shut

Education Minister Vinod Tawde declared a precautionary holiday for schools and colleges in the Mumbai metropolitan area on Monday on account of the heavy rain. However, Tawde's announcement came by noon which was little too late for many students who were already stuck in the rains. Many people complained that assurances and help from the government should have come earlier.

What's more, the downpour had also delayed junior college admissions. The original deadline to confirm admissions following the first merit list was 5 pm on Monday, but was delayed by one day following poor attendance by the students and college staff, the report said.

Electricity woes

The Vasai-Virar portion of the city was the worst hit even in this respect, with a report on The Times of India saying there was no electricity for 37 hours, including almost the entire of Tuesday. With road and rail links connecting this portion with the rest of the city also snapping on Tuesday, the region remained completely shut, the report said. Locals also fell short of essential commodities such as milk and bread as trucks couldn't reach the area and grocers and shops remained shut, the report added.

The region, home to 13 lakh residents, finally got relief after more than a day. "There was nothing to fall back on — no lights, no fans, no TV, no internet connection, and our mobile phones and other phones were also dead," said a Vasai resident, calling it "one of the most horrendous moments of his life".

New flooding spots emerge

The ongoing infrastructure and mega-housing projects have resulted in new flooding spots emerging all across the city. Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, as reported by a separate copy on The Times of India. Mehta also said the city's new problems needed to be addressed with new ideas for quick implementation.

The BMC said it had found many new flooding spots, mainly where work on the Mumbai Metro rail was in progress, and they had said they were working with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to find a solution.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 13:35 PM

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