Is Mumbai ready for rains?

Nullahs 90% clean, trees trimmed, but roads hold trouble


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Updated: Jun 12, 2019, 05:05 AM IST

Romantic feelings about Mumbai's monsoons last only as long as it takes to construct a social media post about petrichor and pakora-chai. Anxiety about water-logging, traffic, failure of public transport and other inconveniences and tragedies— follow soon after.

The monsoon is expected to hit the financial capital in all its glory on June 15, but are we ready? No even a little bit, if Monday's teaser is anything to go by.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation claims to have spent Rs 153 crore on cleaning nullahs, apart from spending Rs 50 crore on trimming trees. A hefty Rs 15.86 crore has gone into filling potholes. Traffic Police have identified 215 potential bottlenecks across 34 traffic divisions and have diverted traffic from 145 of the locations.

The Railways say they have identified over 25 spots where multi-storeyed slums teeter dangerously close to rail tracks.

Ironically, the gutters hold hope. Over 90 per cent of the city's drainage system has been cleaned, including the Mithi river and nullahs at Poisar, Chamdawadi (Bandra), Dahisar, Kurla, Dharavi, Sion and Vikhroli.

Vehicular traffic, already squeezed to a slow trickle by Metro works, pose a mammoth hurdle. Locals have been asking for work on Metro-6 (Swami Samarth Nagar to Vikhroli) to go underground as the elevated corridor is already causing severe congestion. "It takes 15-20 minutes to cover that small stretch of road," said N Bhalla, a Powai resident.

"Mumbai is undergoing a transition," said Yogesh Ambe, a road safety and infrastructure expert. "However, the climate is also changing globally and no matter how much authorities say they are rain-ready, Mumbai is on a ventilator".

After Monday's showers crippled all three lines on Western and Central Suburban Railways network, there was no official dissemination of information about disruption on the Railways's Twitter ids. "People were panicking due to sparking and loud noises made by the OHE cables as they tripped," said Subhash Gupta, president of Rail Yatri Parishad.

A Metropolis Prepared On Paper

  • June 15 Monsoon’s ETA
  • Rs 153 cr Spent on cleaning nullahs
  • Rs 50 cr Spent on trimming trees 
  • Rs 15.86 crGone into filling potholes
  • 90% Drainage system cleaned
  • 215 potential bottlenecks across 34 traffic divisions
  • 145 spots Traffic diverted from crucial areas
  • 25 spots Slums teeter close to tracks