A 100mm downpour in the suburbs has washed away the civic body’s claim that it is equipped to deal with the monsoon.
Showers that began on Thursday night and continued till Friday evening disrupted life across Mumbai as areas got water-logged, roads and subways flooded, drains overflowed, train services stalled and traffic jams clogged the streets.
In Mira Road, 10 workers were killed after a portion of a wall collapsed on them. Friday’s downpour was the highest recorded this season. On July 26, 2005, Mumbai witnessed 970mm of rainfall in 24 hours, bringing the city to a standstill.
Civic officials said the pre-monsoon work of cleaning drains was satisfactory and that Friday’s flooding was localised.
“The flooding was due to the failure of an automated system at Irla pumping station, while water-logging in other parts was due to the geographic nature of the city,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
Localised flooding refers to water-logging in an area because rainwater there cannot find its way into storm water drains as the smaller culverts leading to these drains are clogged or the local pumping station is not functioning properly.
When HT conducted its pre-monsoon audit — published in its June 7 to 9 editions — its experts panel had warned the civic body that since internal drains had not been cleaned properly, there were chances of localised flooding.
On Friday, there was water-logging in 31 areas, including Hindmata, Khar and Milan subways, Oshiwara, Juhu, Kurla, Mankhurd, Sewri and Mazagaon.
“Till noon, traffic was very slow on all major roads, including the Western and Eastern Express Highways, LBS Marg and SV Road,” a traffic official said.
Train services were affected after two nullahs overflowed and flooded the tracks on both the central and the western lines. While services on the central and harbour lines ran 45 minutes late in the morning, the western line saw 30-minute delays.
Rain and poor visibility grounded flights for 17 minutes at the airport, which in turn delayed flight arrivals by 15 minutes.