Washed out, by just 107 mm | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Washed out, by just 107 mm

Just over 100 mm of what the weather bureau called “a perfectly normal instance of heavy rain” threw the city out of gear, with overflowing stormwater drains flooding streets and railway tracks, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic and delays on the western and central railway lines.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2010 01:01 IST
HT Correspondents

“I’m scared. I don’t know how I’ll get home,” nine-year-old Varadha Chavan told HT on Saturday afternoon.

Clutching four packets of biscuits given to her by well-meaning strangers, the raincoat-clad Class 4 student of a Dadar school stood outside her stalled schoolbus on the Elphinstone Bridge.

“We’ve been here for two hours,” she said. “I live 20 minutes away by bus… I can’t tell you where because my mummy said I shouldn’t tell strangers.”

Yet again, just over 100 mm of what the weather bureau called “a perfectly normal instance of heavy rain” threw the city out of gear, with overflowing stormwater drains flooding streets and railway tracks, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic and delays on the western and central railway lines.

And, once again, the municipal corporation’s claims of being rain-ready and flood-ready were washed away too.

Just three months after a disaster-preparedness exercise at Matunga, where the BMC promised a response from 14 agencies within eight minutes of flooding, little Varadha and hundreds of other schoolchildren and commuters remained stranded for hours, some in knee-deep water.

“We’ve had this kind of waist-deep water in Parel for years,” said commuter Ramesh Ganpatrao (45). “The pumps never seem to working.” Waterlogging was worst in the low-lying areas of Mahalaxmi, Worli, Parel, Sion, Dadar, Ghatkopar, Matunga and Santacruz.

Some roads at Dadar and Elphinstone Road were blocked by police vans acting as barricades. “We had to restrict entry as the water level was rising,” said a traffic policeman.

Milan Subway and the Mahim Causeway saw the worst flooding, as usual. “We had to run two pumps simultaneously as there was 1.5 feet of water accumulated here,” said Milan pump operator Ramesh Chaurasia.

Fortunately, the high tide at 4.30 pm did not worsen matters as the rain had abated and the water was finally receding.

“There was flooding at Sion, Wadala and other low-lying areas and trains were delayed by 20 to 45 minutes in the afternoon,” said S.C. Mudgerikar, the Central Railway’s chief spokesperson. “About 38 trains on the central line and 16 on the harbour line were cancelled.”

Trains on the Western Railway were delayed by 10 to 15 minutes.