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Rain throws life out of gear in Mumbai

The rail, road and air network is hit hard and central line of the suburban rail network is stopped due to flooding.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2007 20:23 IST

Heavy rains since early hours of Saturday inundated several parts of the metrpolis particularly low-lying areas and normal life was disrupted with road, suburban rail and air service thrown out of gear due to flooding.

The incessant rain that began around 0400 hours has submerged several low-lying areas in Matunga, Sion, Bandra, Andheri, Wadla, Worli, Chembur, Lower Parel, Borivali and the Milan subway. The weather office has recorded over 178 mm of rainfall so far.

Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Chandrakant Handore's house in suburban Chembur was submerged besides several ground floor flats as the downpour intensified with forecast of high tide in the afternoon making the drainage of stormwater more difficult.

Air Traffic Control in Mumbai in the morning announced suspension of flights with runways at the airport not serviceable due to flooding and poor visibility. However, it allowed some of the flights to take off after 2 in the afternoon, but did not allow the flights to land.

Suburban trains, the lifeline for millions of office going commuters, was suspended in Central and Harbour lines due to flooding of tracks and western rail ran a delayed skeleton service as many of the office goers remained indoors. The Mumbai civic body has advised people to stay indoors till 5 pm.

In the neighbouring Ratnagiri district, Army has been called out to assist the local administration to carry out relief work as one could see only sheet of water for miles in the face of flooding. Heavy rains were also reported from Raigad, Sangli and several other parts of the state.

Meterological office has forecast more rain in the next 24-36 hours. Slums in several areas of Mumbai, including Asia's largest slum Dharavi, were submerged. Several arterial roads had knee-to-chest-deep water with vehicles wading through flooded streets.

Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak said the city stormwater drains had capacity evacuate water upto 40 mm of rainfall. "The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cannot find solution overnight when the rainfall far exceeds 40 mm."

"It is just like trying to convert four-lane to a 10-lane expressway overnight," he said, adding building such infrastructure takes time.

Reliance Energy and BEST, providers of power in the city and suburbs, have cut supply in various places, particularly low-lying ones, as a precautionary measure.

Homeguards have been deployed to assist road traffic, railways and civic body authorities, a senior official said.

Around 1,500 Homeguard personnel have been deployed with railways, 150 with traffic department and 300 with the municipal corporation, he said.

Last Sunday when the city witnessed heavy rainfall this monsoon due to cloudburst, the weather office recorded 200 mm of rainfall.

Civic authorities have issued warning to Mumbaikars not to venture out unless it was absolutely necessary. Several parts in Mahad and Roha towns in neighbouring Raigad district were submerged in 4 to 5 feet water.

In the adjoining Thane, two persons were electrocuted on Friday night in Nagaon village, District Collector SS Zende said.

Firemen in the Thane city had a tough time attending to calls of heavy flooding in the low-lying areas.

First Published: Jun 30, 2007 12:11 IST