There seems to be no end to bad news coming out of Mumbai, India’s business capital. On Tuesday, reports said eight people, including six women, were killed and around eight injured when a building collapsed in Ghatkopar’s Damodar Park area. The four-storey building belonged to a local Shiv Sena leader, who was running a hospital on the ground floor and planned to run a guest house in the building, ANI reported a local Congress leader as alleging.
Last year also, in a similar incident, eight people were killed in the city when a dilapidated building they were living in collapsed due to heavy rain. The shocking incident on Tuesday prompted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to order a probe. But this is not the first such shocking incident reported from Mumbai recently.
Two days, ago a 34-year-old woman biker was crushed to death by a death on Jawhar-Dahanu highway of the city when she tried to avoid a pothole. Ironically, the Bhrianmumbai Municipal Corporation, which is one of Asia’s richest civic bodies, put the blame of the death on the deceased biker initially, instead of accepting its failure in making Mumbai roads pothole-free.
India’s financial capital riddled with potholes doesn’t make a good optics for India, which is trying too hard to attract global investors and industries. In a freak mishap on Thursday last, a former Doordarshan anchor, Kanchan Nath (58), who was taking a morning walk near a road close to her housing society died when a coconut tree fell on her. The shocking incident was captured on CCTV camera and it went viral on the internet.
On July 17, a man died and four others were injured when an electric car fell on their car on the Mumbai-Pune Express Way.
Not just the potholes, the city’s woes are many. Mumbai is dotted with dilapidated, old buildings and its poor rainwater management is legendary. According to NCRB, the maximum number of accidental deaths (9,106 deaths) across India were reported from Mumbai in 2014. As many as 667 people died in road accidents and around 1720 were injured in road accidents in 2014.
Surprisingly, the NCRB data revealed that as many as 306 housewives had committed suicide in Mumbai in 2014 out of the total 3501 such deaths across the country in the year.
A CAG report last year highlighted that in Maharashtra, most of the high rises were just waiting for fire disasters. The report found gross anomalies and inadequacies in fire safety arrangements in high rises as well as petrol pumps, LPG stations, firecracker shops, and saw mills, according to The Indian Express.
The CAG report said that around 78% of funds marked for the purchase of fire safety appliances, rescue vehicles and equipment were unused between 2010 and 2015 in cities like Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. It also highlighted that even the existing fire services were ill-equipped.
As the season of rains continues, there is no guarantee that the city would not face a flood-like situation again. Much of the blame for Mumbai’s woes go to the city’s municipal corporations that have succumbed to corruption and petty politics. It would need a lot to clear the mess.