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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

A monsoon rule book that no one follows in Mumbai

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 18, 2013
First Published: 08:23 IST(18/6/2013) | Last Updated: 12:14 IST(18/6/2013)

As it poured relentlessly on Sunday, senior civic officials stood at the water-logged Hindmata junction studying drain designs and trying to figure out why the spot was flooding.

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Neither the civic officials nor the contractors had the answer, but Hindmata is one of the city’s chronic flooding spots and there’s no reason why this brainstorming could not have been done earlier.


The incident reflects the state of the city’s monsoon preparedness and the lack of thought in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s response. This, despite the BMC having a book of guidelines that is to be followed in such situations.


A look at the guidelines, which recommends communication to the public and several temporary arrangements to improve safety and address flooding, shows that on Sunday BMC officials did not bother looking at their own guidelines.


From the lack of information about traffic to poor presence of civic staff at flooded spots, the BMC failed on almost every count.

 Nikhil Desai, a Matunga-based activist, said: “The effect of spending crores of rupees is not seen on the ground. Only 2% of the manholes have danger signs put up. I asked the Matunga police once to provide a rope to be tied along a road for citizens to walk, but they said they did not have it,” he said.


“Tertiary measures are not in place, but when the BMC is not doing enough to put primary flood-prevention systems in place, it is not wise to spend on secondary measures such as rescue boats, SMS service, etc.,” said Prakash Sanglikar, former deputy municipal commissioner who helped formulate the guidelines.


Khar resident Surendra Khubchandani, whose society is nearly three feet deep in water on heavy rain days, said the civic staff was unhelpful.
“I asked them to help us get out of our society, but the local ward said it didn’t have any provisions,” he said.


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