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Mumbai rains a reminder of 2005

Tuesday - July 9, 2019 9:40 am , Category : WTN SPECIAL
Mumbaikars once again facing the flood like situation
Mumbaikars once again facing the flood like situation

Where the city management in Mumbai?

JULY 09 (WTN) – The heavy rain in Mumbai over the week is a gory reminder of the 2005 mayhem such showers caused in the ‘maximum’ city leading to crippling of all public services and several deaths. This year’s monsoon break too caused a 2005-like scare in the city when streets started getting inundated and water bodies breached their banks to enter houses. 

The railway tracks sunk under water like 2005 and Mumbai’s lifeline, the ubiquitous local train, stopped plying, leaving millions of Mumbaikars in deep trouble. The runway of the busy international airport was shut and hundreds of flights diverted or cancelled. Surprisingly, it took three days to clear the runway for normal operations. Elsewhere houses collapsed, walls broke, traffic jams lasted eons and power cuts accompanied the nights.

In all this, the utter mismanagement and false claims of the civic authorities came to the fore. The roads, rail, bridges, buildings, houses – everything starts crumbling whenever we have the slightest above normal rain. Mumbai is one of the most important cities of South Asia and the commercial and film hub of India. Any loss to Mumbai’s trade and businesses means loss of millions of rupees to the country. It is one of the main gateways to India for the world. 

The pathetic civic condition of the city leaves much to be desired. Years after years hundreds of crores of rupees are spent in the name of maintenance and upkeep of the civic facilities, yet during every little crisis, all the claims come apart and for all its glitter and fame, the city turns into a hell. Corruption, mismanagement, unaccountability, political nexuses are the age-old realities so entrenched in our system that we can perhaps never get out of the ever deepening rut. 

We dream of making Mumbai a Singapore, Dubai or Shanghai yet we don’t have even the very basics of road and housing in shape and whatever we had are also giving way. Everywhere the system is leaking, creaking and groaning.  Over seven decades into Independence, we have one of the most famous cities of the country, the richest and the most promising and pompous of all, still unable to come out of the third world tag. Poor planning, poorer implementation, lack of vision in the leaders and planners, lack of monitoring and public probity, lack of contingency plans to manage exigent situations, all act together to ditch us and damage our reputation. 

The same old story repeats itself again and again and we have almost become inured to the squalid reality around us. It is a shame and pity that we can’t even manage a city of 200 square miles – the city which is economically the most important entity for us– despite having all the money and resources at hand. Who do we blame if not ourselves for such gross negligence and mismanagement? If this is the way India progresses, we will take another century to reach where China or Japan is today. This a sorry reality of our state of affairs and what the future portends.