Heavy rain brought Mumbai and its neighbouring areas to a standstill today, flooding streets and badly affecting life, with nearly 90 trains on the suburban network being cancelled.
Heavy rain brought Mumbai and its neighbouring areas to a standstill today, flooding streets and badly affecting life, with nearly 90 trains on the suburban network being cancelled. The rainfall caused traffic snarls as many roads and streets in the metropolis were flooded and people were seen wading through knee-deep water. A 43-year-old woman riding a motorcycle as a pillion was crushed by a bus after the vehicle hit a water-logged pothole in adjoining Thane district of Maharashtra.
The shocking incident was captured on CCTV cameras. Due to water-logging, around 300 people were stuck in their homes in Vasai town of the adjoining Palghar district. However, they refused to be evacuated even as the water level receded, a district information officer said. The residents preferred to stay in their homes instead of relocating to some temporary shelter in response to the district administration’s appeal for evacuation, he said. Some of them accepted food packets given by the administration, he said.
“We have kept an ambulance near their homes as a precautionary measure,” the officer said. The downpour of 170 mm (recorded in Colaba observatory for the Mumbai city) from 8.30 am yesterday morning till 8.30 am today was the highest in a 24-hour period during the current monsoon season, the Meteorological Department’s Deputy Director General, K S Hosalikar, said. From 8.30 am to 5.30 pm today, the Colaba observatory recorded a rainfall of 104.8 mm. The Santacruz observatory, which records rainfall for suburban Mumbai, reported the downpour of 122 mm during the 24-hour period from 8.30 am yesterday and 75 mm from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm today.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the metropolis has received 54 per cent of its average monsoon season rainfall just in the last 20 days. The rainfall slowed down the pace of the financial capital, which is heavily dependent on local train services. Though the intensity of showers receded as the day progressed, it took longer time for the city traffic to revert to its pace. As many as 87 local services on the Central Railway (CR) and the Western Railway (WR) were cancelled today due to the heavy rain, said officials. Vehicles on many roads were seen crawling because of the rainfall and low visibility. Potholes compounded the problem.
Schools and colleges were shut in Mumbai, while the Mumbai University said examinations will be rescheduled for students who could not appear for them today. There was heavy water-logging in Mumbai’s central areas of Kurla, Sion and Dadar. Mira Road (in adjoining Thane district), Nallasopara and Vasai (in Palghar district) were largely affected due to the heavy showers. Train services of the Central Railway and the Western Railway were slightly delayed due to water-logging on rail tracks in some places, the officials said. The WR cancelled 50 of the nearly 1,500 suburban services operated by it on weekdays due to flooding on three tracks near Nallasopara station. Only two tracks were operational today.
The WR deployed high-power pumps to take out water from tracks, but this did not help in avoiding delay in running of trains. Thousands of people could not reach their offices, while many others arrived late. The CR cancelled 37 services, out of the daily 1,700, early in the day because of water-logging on tracks between Sion and Matunga stations. However, the situation improved in the second half of the day as normal local services resumed. Some long-distance trains to Gujarat and northern states were halted at Borivali as tracks near Nallasopara and Virar were submerged. The trains left after a delay of about one hour, a spokesperson of the Western Railway said.
Many government and semi-government establishments curtailed their office hours to allow their employees to leave for home early. Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses were slightly delayed, but no service was cancelled or suspended, a BEST spokesperson said. The city’s neighbouring areas got even more rain and roads were submerged. Visibility at the Mumbai airport was “not very good” but flights were operating according to schedule, an Met official said, adding no warning has been issued for the aviation sector so far.
The meteorological department has forecast more heavy rain in Mumbai till tomorrow. Hosalikar said the intensity of rains in the city’s neighbouring districts of Palghar, Raigad and some parts in the south Konkan region was even more “vigorous” with these areas receiving 200 mm rainfall since yesterday.