A day after heavy rains wreaked havoc in the country’s financial capital, the civic chief today blamed extreme weather conditions for waterlogging on roads and railway tracks, saying the municipal machinery worked fine in the hour of crisis. The megalopolis received around 320 mm rain yesterday, the heaviest on a single day since the July 26, 2005 record of 944 mm, which paralysed the city within a few hours. The torrential rain plunged the city into chaos as water swamped homes, and submerged roads and railway tracks, leaving thousands of people stranded at various places. “The weather condition was extreme….the city witnessed excessive waterlogging. However, the civic machinery was in place and worked properly,” Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told reporters.
He said the city received 320 mm rainfall on Tuesday. At 23 places, over 200 mm rainfall was received. The civic body’s plan to tackle the situation and rescue the people worked quite well, Mehta claimed. He said over 30,000 employees were pressed into service to handle the situation. “They removed excessive water (from roads and rail tracks) and provided shelters to the stranded people who could not travel home,” the civic chief said.
Mehta said the MCGM operated a total of 229 pumps to flush out water, while 420 people stranded on 12 trains were rescued by the fire brigade from four locations in the city. The BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) operated 3,146 buses and ferried 30 lakh passengers during the downpour, Mehta said. Talking about the work done by the civic staff in providing overnight shelter to the stranded passengers, he said, assistant commissioners of the respective wards provided 69 night shelters in the vicinity of railway stations where around 5,000 people spent the night.
He said various agencies worked in coordination to tackle the yesterday’s situation. “The police, NDRF, IMD, HAM Radio, Navy came forward and extended their help while the Coast Guard, Army, Air Force were kept on stand by,” Mehta said. He appealed to citizens to seek medical assistance in case they experienced symptoms like fever or vomiting. The civic chief said the MCGM had repaired 561 roads, cumulatvely stretching up to 138 km, ahead of the monsoon this year.