State abandons city in hour of need, again | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State abandons city in hour of need, again

It's the same old story. The governance failed the city once again.

mumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2012 01:36 IST
Kunal Purohit

It's the same old story. The governance failed the city once again.

While rain gods showed benevolence towards the country's financial hub on Monday, every authority responsible for keeping the city ticking was nowhere to be seen.

It appears that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who holds the urban development department, civic chief Sitaram Kunte, who is the head of the city's disaster management authority, or mayor Sunil Prabhu did not take any initiative to make life easier for residents.

On Tuesday, Prabhu issued a press note praising the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its "efforts in tackling the situation on Monday".

"The BMC administration did a commendable job in ensuring that the people of this city had to face minimal hassles while commuting on Monday," he said.

With just an average of 134mm rain, Mumbai came to a near standstill. While citizens were stranded on the city's streets, platforms and trains for hours, the city's governance system had all but collapsed.

The civic body's disaster management cell got over 300 distress calls from harrowed citizens, complaining about waterlogging, bad roads and fallen trees, among other civic grievances.

However, all the prerequisites of fighting such a disaster were absent.

For once, even as the social media and television channels went berserk with information about the chaos, there was no information emanating out of official sources.

As a result, thousands of office-goers were left groping in the dark and decided to leave for home, adding to the already congested rail and road routes. Once on the streets, they were greeted with roads inundated with water at many places and traffic jams at others.

A senior civic official, not wishing to be named, said, "The entire disaster management machinery collapsed on Monday. There was no coordination between the BMC and various other agencies such as the traffic police and the railways. Right from coordination to information dissemination, all these agencies failed."

With hardly any presence of traffic constables, auto and taxi drivers had a merry day refusing to ferry passengers, or overcharging them.

The city's political masters, meanwhile, had little in terms of an explanation. Mumbai suburban guardian minister Naseem Khan, said citizens should be prepared for such a situation in view of heavy rainfall. "By and large a lot of pre-monsoon work has been done and this situation arose because of heavy rain in a short period of time," he said.

Mumbai city guardian minister Jayant Patil said the pothole problem had come up again and there needed to be some solution. "We need to have a accountability to ensure people are not put through this again and again."