Mumbai: Rains continued to pound Mumbai throwing normal life off-track as offices remained deserted and schools and colleges were shut on the instructions of the Maharashtra government on Tuesday evening.
Suburban trains ran at low speeds while traffic, including buses, was painfully slow in several flooded localities.
This is the third time in the last three weeks that the city has been hit by torrential rains.
The worst of the monsoon experience was on August 29 when the deluge claimed 14 people, destroyed homes in low lying areas and made life miserable for daily commuters.
Apart from the usual difficulties faced by Mumbai resedents during monsoon, the most dominant being travel due to thousands of potholes, an abnormal rainy day cripples all normal life in the city.
People are still haunted by the 2005 floods that claimed 500 lives but both the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, India’s richest civic body, and the residents of India’s financial capital have yet to ensure that plastic, debris and waste don’t go into the drains that carry rain water.
Year after year, it is the same story and once again suburban trains, the lifeline of Mumbai, ran slow whilst several long distance trains were cancelled or rescheduled with delays of seven to 17 hours.
The main runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport remained shut today as a Spicejet aircraft was still stuck in the mud since last night after overshooting the runway. Reports estimated it would take 12 to 18 hours to remove the aircraft.
This factor and the rains caused the cancellation of 108 flights and diversion of 51 flights as at 8.30am with the airport having to manage operations with the secondary runway.
Several international flights were also affected.
Even the dabbawalas, lunchbox delivery men, cancelled the delivery of over 200,000 tiffins to office-goers in the city due to poor suburban rail services.
“We will resume our services tomorrow,” Subhas Talekar of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said.
He said the three railway networks — Western and Central Railway and Harbour Line that link 70 stations — ensure that the lunch boxes travelled from far off northern suburbs to the business and office districts of south Mumbai within a maximum of two hours.
The Indian Meteorological Department in its forecast for Mumbai said there would be intermittent rains and that heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at a few places. Even though there was no warning for cyclone, there were several rumours floating and civic authorities had to ask the public not to believe in such rumours.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police kept sending out messages on its Twitter account on the status of traffic and what roads to be best avoided.
Around 4pm, it informed, “Obstruction in traffic on Centaur Bridge, North Bound, Vile Parle, W.E.H. (Western Express Highway) due to breakdown of a car. Traffic is moving slow.” It also tweeted, “No water logging & traffic normal at BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex), Dahisar, Dadar, Parel, Matunga & Tardeo #Traffic Update#MumbaiRains.” However, it warned of waterlogging in an area in the suburb of Mulund.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind also tweeted, “Thoughts with families in rain-hit Mumbai, parts of Maharashtra & western India. Govt & civil society must work together.”