June 20th, 2015
The Problem –
Mumbai has been brought to a virtual standstill after heavy rains. Two people have lost their lives due to electrocution, street traffic and local trains have come to a halt, and many areas have had their electricity supply cut off.
The Reason –
While the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) and the government have blamed heavy rains over the last 24 hours for the troubles, the truth is that the BMC is as much responsible for the mess as nature.
The Background –
In 2005, Mumbai saw its worst ever flooding in recent decades. After a lot of meeting and thinking, the BMC announced that they would take many steps to avoid such situations in future. However, various reports from different media houses puncture many holes in the BMC’s tall claims.
The Claims –
The BMC is Asia’s richest civic body in terms of annual spends. Every year they spend close to 1000 crore of taxpayer money on pre-monsoon preparation and development works. They claimed to have spent over Rs 2000 crores on the preparations this time, including cleaning of stormwater drains, repair of roads and improvement of the underground drainage system. Apart from this, two new pumping stations costing over 218 crore were set up in Central Mumbai to pump out water from areas such as Worli, Dadar and Prabhadevi, among the worst hit areas every season.
The Shameful Reality –
Despite all the tall claims, the situation has been as bad as any other time. Waterlogging has continued as both the new pumps have failed to deliver as expected. The drainage system is unable to drain the rainwater. Where did the 2000 crores go? On top of that, it has been found that out of the 8 pumping stations planned after 2005, only 4 have been completed as of today while 2 are under construction and the remaining 2 are still only on paper.
The Logical Indian inbox is full of messages from citizens of Mumbai who are angry at the mess created by the rains and the BMC. As citizens of India’s commercial capital and as taxpayers who contribute to the BMC and Maharashtra government’s coffers, they feel cheated and harassed.
We urge the BMC and Maharashtra government to ensure quick relief this time and better planning next time instead of just blaming the heavy rains for all of Mumbai’s woes.