Thursday, 18 July 2019

Mumbai paralaysed after incessant rain; Maha toll rises to 35

Mumbai, Jul 2 (PTI) Mumbai was Tuesday paralaysed by incessant rain, which left many parts of the financial capital waterlogged and 21 dead in a wall collapse in the city.

Fourteen persons died in rest of Maharashtra in rain- related incidents in the last 24 hours, officials said.

Heavy rains lashing Mumbai since Sunday threw rail, air and road traffic out of gear, with several trains and flights cancelled.

With IMD forecast of heavy rains for Tuesday, the authorities declared a holiday in the city and adjoining regions, asking people to avoid stepping out of their houses.

Twenty one people were killed and 78 injured in a wall collapse in the northern suburb of Malad in Mumbai early Tuesday following heavy rains.

The injured were admitted to civic-run hospitals and 15 of them were discharged after primary treatment, a senior civic official told reporters here.

Efforts by rescue workers to get a 15-year-old girl out of the debris of the wall which collapsed in Malad, proved futile as she was brought out dead.

Two persons died in Malad after they were locked up in a car flooded with rain water. One person was electrocuted in Vile Parle and a security guard was killed in a wall collapse in suburban Mulund.

In Pune, six labourers were killed and three injured after a wall collapsed in Ambegaon area late Monday night. A wall collapse in Kalyan in Thane district early Tuesday killed three people, officials said.

In Buldhana district, a 52-year-old woman was killed on the spot by a bolt of lightning.

Altogether 54 flights were diverted and 52 cancelled at Mumbais Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport due to inclement weather.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the BMC Disaster Management control room and took stock of the situation in Mumbai with civic officials.

Fadnavis reviewed issues like railway traffic, road traffic movement, and areas where more focus and assistance is required, with BMC and Mumbai Police officials.

“As a precautionary measure and as per IMD advisory on heavy rains, we declared holiday Tuesday,” Fadnavis said. “We need to remain alert for the next two days,” he aded.

As rains continued to lash the city, water logging was reported at Airport Colony, Vakola Junction, Postal colony, near Chunabhatti Railway station and Vakola road, a BMC official said.

Over 1,000 people were evacuated from Kranti Nagar, Kurla, to prevent any untoward incidents due to an overflowing Mithi river, he said.

At around 2 am Tuesday, a compound wall in Pimpripada area of Malad collapsed, trapping people living in shanties adjacent to the wall.

In the incident in Kalyan, the wall of an Urdu school behind Durgai Fort collapsed around 1 am, killing three people in the hutments adjacent.

Authorities declared Tuesday as a public holiday in Mumbai and adjoining Thane as the Meteorological Department forecast heavy rains for the day.

The Mumbai University also postponed the exam of B.Sc Computer Science for first and second year students due to heavy rains, an official said.

A Central Railway (CR) official said CR personnel, with the help of RPF jawans, rescued thousands of passengers stranded in local trains and served them tea, biscuits and other food items at stations.

A senior official of the Western Railway said its suburban services are running between Churchgate and Virar even if the frequency was less.

Many long-distance trains of the central and western railway were either cancelled or terminated ahead of final destination due to heavy rainfall, the official said.

Power utility companies have also suspended the supply in some suburban areas of Mumbai as a precautionary measure.

The heavy downpour also forced Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to cancel his scheduled ground breaking function of construction of a new building for MLAs.

BMC additional commissioner Ashwini Joshi said an inquiry will be held into the Malad wall collapse and any official found guilty will be punished.

Fadnavis made a similar announcement in the state legislature, announcing a high-level probe into the wall collapse.

The Malad wall collapse issue also figured in the state legislature on the last day of the monsoon session Tuesday, with former deputy CM Ajit Pawar seeking dissolution of the Shiv Sena-ruled BMC.

Monsoon was active over the entire north Konkan belt, including Mumbai, with IMD predicting heavy to very rainfall over most places and extremely heavy rain at a few places.

On the IMD’s forecast, Joshi said the intensity of the rainfall is likely to get intense during the next 24 hours in Mumbai and suburbs.

During the last 24 hours, from 8.30 am on July 1 to 8.30 am July 2, BMC’s weather stations recorded an average rainfall of 163 mm in the island city, 329 mm in the eastern suburbs and 309 mm in western suburbs, she said.

The disaster management cell of BMC received over 3,593 complaints, including those about water logging, wall collapse and tree branch falling on the Helpline No 1916.

“The next two days are going to be very critical to us and our machinary is geared to face any eventuality during excessive rains,” Joshi said.

All the 1,400 de-watering pumps of BMC are deployed at 53 flood-prone spots, including 22 chronic spots and assistant municipal commissioners have been asked to supervise their territory, she said.

Joshi blamed “geographic phenomena” for water-logging in the city and said the BMC’s monsoon preparedness was up to the mark.

“Heavy rains in a short period of time coupled with high tide in the city resulted in water-logging in several areas,” IAS officer said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Central Railway resumed its suburban services by running a few special trains in Up and Down directions, giving relief to commuters.

Private weather agency Skymet said Mumbai is at “serious risk of flooding” between July 3 and 5. “Close to 200 mm or more rain per day is likely during this period, which could hamper normal life,” it said.

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