In what has now turned into an annual affair, Mumbai woke up to its worst nightmare Tuesday as heavy rains pummelled India’s financial capital and adjoining areas, disrupting rail, road and air services and threw normal life out of gear. As per the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai recorded a staggering 70 mm rainfall in one hour, while it touched 100 mm between 8.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Besides the metropolis, adjoining Navi Mumbai and Thane regions were also lashed by incessant downpour since last night, delaying suburban train services and leaving vehicles crawling through waterlogged roads in low-lying areas.
News agency ANI reported that three people have been killed in two separate incidents in Vikhroli area of the city. While two died in a landslide incident in Surya Nagar, one person was killed after a building collapsed in Varsha Nagar area of the Mumbai suburb.
Water-logging throws normal life out of gear
Waterlogging has been reported from Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Bandra, Matunga, Dadar, Elphinstone, Mumbai Central, Mazagaon, Lalbaug, Parel, Sion, Wadala, Bhandup and other areas.
However, barring incidents of scores of trees and half a dozen walls collapsing in different parts of the city, flooding and waterlogging, there has been no report of any casualty so far.
The torrential rains are also likely to hit the immersion ceremonies on the fifth day of the Ganeshotsav on Tuesday.
Since Tuesday morning, many parts of Mumbai and suburbs were inundated with up to three to four feet of water on the highways, main and arterial roads, bylanes, housing complexes, railway stations and even the Mumbai Airport.
Traffic jams were reported on all major arterial roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg as the rains continued since last night.
Waterlogging was reported in low-lying areas of Parel and Sion. A tree fell on the busy Saat Rasta road, affecting road traffic.
Suburban services were disrupted with trains on all the three lines–western, central and harbour–running late. Waterlogging on tracks was reported in Andheri and Bandra, civic officials said.
Domestic and international passengers bound for the airport to catch their flights faced huge problems in reaching on time due to massive traffic snarls on the highways and main roads.
The city airport also saw flight disruptions since morning.
Due to heavy winds and downpour since morning, six to seven flights had to do rounds while landing, while four to five flights were diverted to nearby airports. These included an IndiGo Guwahati-Mumbai flight which was diverted to Ahmadabad, airport officials said.
The single runway of the airport was, however, functional.
A Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport spokesperson said there is an average delay of 35 minutes.
“Heavy rains and strong winds have drastically reduced visibility leading to diversions and go arounds even though the main runway is open,” a Mumbai airport source told PTI.
Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were paralysed.
The Central Railway-run harbour line, which connects CSMT to Panvel, remained suspended since 11:30 am, railways officials said.
Traffic snarls were witnessed on the Eastern Freeway, Dr BR Ambedkar Road, Western Express highway, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said.
“Due to waterlogging on tracks & point failure at Bandra following very heavy rains, 3 lines except UP Fast line are affected. Efforts are on to start traffic on 3 lines (except UP fast line) at Bandra as soon as possible by attending the points,” the Western Railway tweeted.
In the morning, commuters bound for offices were stranded at several suburban stations. In absence of train services, major suburban stations were overcrowded. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was chock-a-block with commuters anxiously waiting for trains to head home.
“Stuck in a local train between two stations #MumbaiRains no announcements if the train will go ahead. utter #chaos,” Vidya Kumar, a passenger stranded at Bandra station for over an hour, tweeted by tagging @RailMinIndia and @drmbct, the Twitter handle of DRM WR Mumbai Central.
The BMC has appealed to people not to step out of their home unless absolutely necessary, while the entire civic force — Mumbai Police, Fire Brigade and other agencies — were on high alert to combat the situation.
“The metropolis has received heavy rainfall since last night. Between 8.30 am and 12 pm today, the city received 85 mm rainfall,” Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, told PTI.
“Step out of homes only if it is too important because waterlogging has been reported from several parts of the city,” he said.
Naik, however, added things were well under control and senior civic officials were keeping a close watch on the situation.
According to an official from the BMC’s Disaster Management Cell, “There have been reports of waterlogging in Dadar, Andheri, Worli, Kurla and Sakinaka, among other areas. We have received 20 cases of trees falling and one of a wall collapse.”
“Despite heavy downpour, no untoward incident has been reported so far,” said the official.
Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derails
Adding to the woes of commuters, 10 coaches of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express heading to Mumbai from Nagpur, derailed between Asangaon and Vashind railway stations in Maharashtra at around 6.30 am Tuesday morning.
No passenger was reported to be injured in the incident, Sunil Udasi, chief PRO of the Central Railway, said.
Appreciating the driver’s prompt action, Udasi said, “The driver applied the emergency brakes on time. Stranded passengers were being shifted to their destination by buses and taxis. Top Central Railway officials rushed to the spot to supervise relief and rescue operations.”
As a result of the derailment, the suburban local train services of the Central Railway in Mumbai and Thane were affected hitting morning peak hours and commuter traffic. Eight coaches and engine of the train derailed, and the incident is suspected to have been caused due to mud landslide.
“The entire railway line has been affected, including the suburban services in the Mumbai-Thane sectors, hitting morning office peak hour commuters hard,” Udasi said.
No respite in sight, MeT predicts more rains
As the financial capital stopped in its tracks, no respite was in sight as the MeT department forecast “extremely heavy rainfall” in the next 24 to 48 hours in the western coast of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, and parts of Gujarat and Goa.
“Areas such as Mumbai, south Gujarat, Konkan, Goa and west Vidarbha will get extremely heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours. It is a serious situation. We have issued necessary warnings to the departments concerned, including airports,” A K Srivastav, head of climate monitoring and analysis at IMD Pune, told PTI.
“The status of the weather system, which has brought heavy showers over the Mumbai region, has been upgraded from ‘well marked low pressure’ to ‘depression’. It means it is set to bring more rains. Hence, we have predicted an extremely heavy rainfall,” he said.
PM assures all help, CM Fadnavis reviews situation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that he had spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis following heavy rains in Mumbai and other parts of the state and assured of all possible assistance. “Centre assures all possible support to Maharashtra government in mitigating the situation due to heavy rains in parts of the state,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
He also urged people to take all possible precautions in wake of the incessant rains. “Urge people of Mumbai and surrounding areas to stay safe and take all essential precautions in the wake of heavy rain,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, CM Fadnavis visited the State Disaster Management Control (SDMC) room here and took stock of the situation arising out of the heavy rainfall.
The Maharashtra government has allowed its employees in Mantralaya (secretariat) and other departments to leave early. It has also appealed to the private companies to do the same.
“I chaired a review meeting of officials in the disaster management unit to ascertain the situation that has arisen from the heavily rainfall in Mumbai,” Fadnavis said.
“I have spoken to BMC officials. The civic body has received several complaints related to tree falling and some related to waterlogging,” he said, adding the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is looking into these complaints.
The chief minister said he spoke to the Mumbai Police Commissioner and was informed that traffic has been diverted at 25 places due to waterlogging.
“We have advised (private) offices to allow their employees to leave for their homes early today. We have issued similar orders for government employees,” Fadnavis said.
He said as Mumbai was under CCTV surveillance, vehicular movement can be monitored from the traffic control room and the police commissioner’s office.
Schools, colleges in Mumbai to remain shut tomorrow
Schools and colleges here will remain closed tomorrow in view of the MeT department forecasting heavy rains in the metropolis. After taking stock of the flood situation, Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde instructed the colleges and schools to remain shut tomorrow.
“With today’s heavy downpour and predictions for heavier rainfall; schools, college authorities instructed to remained closed tomorrow,” Tawde tweeted late this evening.