Max­i­mum City hob­bles back to nor­malcy

Lo­cal trains par­tially re­stored, Rail­ways strug­gles to re­move stranded rakes

The Hindu - - NATION -

Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent As Mum­bai limped backed to nor­malcy af­ter a day of tor­ren­tial rains, most city roads wore a de­serted look with the gov­ern­ment declar­ing schools and col­leges shut. At least five peo­ple were re­ported killed in dif­fer­ent rain-re­lated in­ci­dents overnight.

While the rains took a breather on Wed­nes­day, with the sun com­ing out briefly in the af­ter­noon, the Cen­tral Rail­way strug­gled to re­store its ser­vices, with four trains on the Main line and three on the Har­bour line be­ing ma­rooned — de­clared in­op­er­a­tional — due to the down­pour and flood­ing. The West­ern Rail­way how­ever, re­stored ser­vices par­tially late last night, with some op­er­a­tional de­lays through Wed­nes­day. Com­muters and long dis­tance trav­ellers were left stranded, and ended up spend­ing the night at the sta­tions.

Mum­bai air­port was also home to nu­mer­ous stranded pas­sen­gers on Tues­day night, with many ar­riv­ing pas­sen­gers re­fus­ing to leave the build­ing and pre­fer­ring to wait in­side, and the traf­fic out­side pre­vent­ing their fam­i­lies from re­ceiv­ing them.

As per in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port Ltd (MIAL), about 15,000 pas­sen­gers ar­riv­ing at the Ter­mi­nal 1 (the do­mes­tic ter­mi­nal at Santa Cruz) chose to stay put till Wed­nes­day morn­ing be­fore leav­ing the ter­mi­nal. These pas­sen­gers also re­fused to avail of free shut­tle rides to im­por­tant sta­tions like Dadar and And­heri be­cause no trains were run­ning.

“In­clement weather dur­ing the last 24 hours, in­clud­ing the sus­pen­sion of ar­rivals and de­par­tures be­tween 4.15 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the air­port, im­pacted flight sched­ules, re­sult­ing in flights from Mum­bai be­ing de­layed by up to 30 to 40 min­utes,” Jet Air­ways said in a statement. All air­lines waived off reschedulA ing and can­cel­la­tion charges from the city.

Five killed

At least five peo­ple were re­ported killed in dif­fer­ent rain-re­lated in­ci­dents in the Bri­hana­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) lim­its alone. Two deaths each were re­ported from Pal­ghar and Ghan­soli. “The vic­tims were brought in with var­i­ous rain­re­lated ac­ci­dents like drown­ing, fall etc.,” said Dr. Av­inash Supe, Di­rec­tor of Med­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Ma­jor Hos­pi­tals, BMC.

BMC Com­mis­sioner Ajoy Me­hta re­fused to ac­cept that the civic body had failed to en­sure the drains were not clogged. “The weather con­di­tion was ex­treme. The city wit­nessed ex­ces­sive wa­ter log­ging. How­ever, the civic ma­chin­ery was in place and worked prop­erly. Mum­bai re­ceived 320 mm rain­fall on Tues­day. At 23 places, over 200 mm rain­fall was re­ceived,” Mr. Me­hta said. The BMC pressed over 30,000 em­ploy­ees into ser­vice to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. “They re­moved ex­cess wa­ter [from roads and rail tracks] and pro­vided shel­ters to the stranded peo­ple, who could not travel home,” the civic chief said. A to­tal of 229 pumps were used to flush out wa­ter, while 425 peo­ple stranded on 12 trains were res­cued by the fire bri­gade from four lo­ca­tions in the city. The Bri­han­mum­bai Elec­tric Sup­ply and Trans­port op­er­ated 3,146 buses and fer­ried 30 lakh pas­sen­gers dur­ing the down­pour. The traf­fic po­lice started gear­ing up from Tues­day night to pre­pare the city for Wed­nes­day. Of­fi­cials said that pri­vate crane op­er­a­tors were con­tacted overnight and asked to be ready to tow away ve­hi­cles that had been aban­doned since Tues­day af­ter­noon.

“We waived off tow­ing charges for peo­ple who had aban­doned their ve­hi­cles and re­turned to the spots on Wed­nes­day morn­ing to re­claim them. Cranes were kept on standby and roads were cleared in the first half today,” Joint Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (Traf­fic) Amitesh Kumar said on Wed­nes­day.

Mr. Kumar added that max­i­mum num­ber of ve­hi­cles had been aban­doned at Kalana­gar, Kher­wadi and Vakola on the West­ern Ex­press High­way, and be­tween Dadar and Hind­mata on Babasa­heb Ambed­kar Road.

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