Shame old story: Another year gone by, Mumbai rains hold city to ransom

Aug 06, 2016, 08:33 IST | Team mid-day

Just half a day’s downpour is enough to paralyse the cosmopolis as heavy rain threw Mumbai city’s train, bus, taxi and autorickshaw services out of gear, bringing the sturdy Mumbaikars to their knees again

Just half a day’s downpour is enough to paralyse the cosmopolis. Heavy rain threw the city’s train, bus, taxi and autorickshaw services out of gear, bringing the sturdy Mumbaikars to their knees.


The island city recorded an average rainfall of 81.71 mm from 8 am-4 pm, while Bandra reported the highest average rainfall — 162.82 mm — in the suburbs. Kurla, Deonar, Andheri, Wadala, Worli, Matunga, Marol and Santacruz clocked more than 100 mm rainfall, according to the BMC. A 4.47-m-high tide at 2.05 pm threatened to make matters worse, prompting the BMC to press additional pumps into service from all pumping stations, including Britannia.

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As water flooded the railways tracks at the Sion station, commuters were forced to think of other ways to get by. Pics/Datta KumbharAs water flooded the railways tracks at the Sion station, commuters were forced to think of other ways to get by. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

An unoccupied, dilapidated four-storey building collapsed in Khar at 10 am, but no casualty was reported.

Besides, minor incidents of short circuit and a mudslip in Worli Koliwada were reported.

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The monsoon mayhem can turn even complete strangers into friends. Commuters held hands to cross King’s Circle and waded through a flooded Parel yesterday
The monsoon mayhem can turn even complete strangers into friends. Commuters held hands to cross King’s Circle and waded through a flooded Parel yesterday

Trains crawl
The public transport system began to crumble as soon as the day began. The Central Railway (CR) bore the brunt of the heavy rain, with 6-8 inches of water stagnating on the tracks, said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, CR. Trains slowed down to a crawl and many services were even cancelled, primarily from 11 am-3 pm.

The Western Railway was comparatively spared, with few disruption in services. “We cancelled barely 10 services [on WR]. There was a minor waterlogging problem at Mahim and Bandra, but it was sorted by the afternoon,” said a
WR official.

Roads no better
As mayhem ensued, hordes of railway commuters spilled onto the roads, but their problems had only just begun.

Many autorickshaw and taxi drivers turned down fares owing to waterlogged roads. “Around 20% autorickshaws didn’t ply, but the situation got better by the afternoon,” said Shashank Rao, president of the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union. Some 50% of the black-and-yellow taxis stayed off the roads as well. As the roads got flooded, many BEST buses had to be diverted, too.

The rain battered the already worn-out roads further. Huge traffic snarls were reported on pothole-ridden arterial roads in the western suburbs, including the Western Express Highway (WEH) stretch between Dahisar and Bandra, the south-bound arm of the WEH near Samata Nagar, opposite Hub Mall in Goregaon, between JVLR and Jog flyover, and SV Road between Andheri and Bandra. All of the PWD’s repairs on the WEH, initiated last week, were washed away.

In the eastern corridor, waterlogging at King’s Circle threw traffic into chaos, leading to snarls all along Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road. Traffic below the 11.04-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line, too, was affected at several locations.

Flights delayed
Even flight services were affected — the season’s first. Poor visibility forced four flights to take go-arounds and rain caused delays in ground operations. An airport official said all procedures prior to a take-off were delayed owing to the rain. “The ground operations staff of airlines as well as agencies ran behind schedule.”

(Reported by Shashank Rao, Maleeva Rebello, Ranjeet Jadhav, Neha LM Tripathi, Pallavi Smart and Tanvi Deshpande)

Brace for a wet weekend
The Indian Meteorological Department said a trough off the Gujarat coast has caused strong rain-bearing westerly winds to blow towards Maharashtra and Goa. KS Hosalikar, deputy director general of meteorology, said, “Warnings have been issued to fishermen and ports. There will be intermittent showers in Mumbai, but Konkan and Goa will get heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours.” The department forecasts a wet weekend, but not continuous rain.

‘Don’t come to Lonavla’
Fearing a deluge over the weekend, the authorities have appealed to tourists to stay away from Lonavla. The Bhusi dam, Lion Point, Tiger Point, Karla caves and Baja caves are popular haunts on Lonavla tourists’ itinerary. 
Jay Jadhav, SP, Pune Rural, said heavy rain and fog have already affected visibility in the area. “Citizens should stay away for their own safety. Besides, the Bhusi dam is brimming, and could pose a threat to frolicking tourists.” Rain has been lashing all of Pune district. Last week, a landslide was reported at Karla caves.

Panicking parents force schools to shut
Many city schools shut after the first half of the day as reports of waterlogging came thick and fast. While some schools made the decision on their own, others were prompted by worried parents.“We contacted as many parents as we could,” said Nikhat Jaffery, principal of Hansraj Morarji School, Andheri. The ‘drier’ Vanita Vikas School in Ghatkopar, however, had to call it a day after panicking parents arrived. At Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Chembur, a tree branch fell on children during recess, but they escaped with scratches.

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