This year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) correctly predicted the arrival of the monsoon in Mumbai. But the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) didn't seem to be ready for the rains despite its tall claims about how Mumbaikars won't be at the receiving end of any kind of flood-like situation. The municipal body also went on to claim that it has identified more than 200 flooding spots across the city and worked on 120. But all these statistics, tall claims — along with the hopes of Mumbaikars — were shattered as soon as the first showers hit the city.
While reporting on the BMC’s monsoon preparedness, I happened to visit the top four flooding spots in Mumbai. This time, the BJP has installed large machines which will help it fetch water from these areas. One such spot is Dadar's Hindmata. Here, the BMC has installed three to four high-power pump machines.
BMC's tall claims are washed away each year. Photo: PTI
The municipal body has also tried to guard the area and its own claims by starting a flood control room at Hindmata. But every one of their plans got washed away with the first few spells of showers alone as the entire vicinity started filling up after just 30 minutes of rains. The plight of Mumbaikars residing in Sion’s Gandhi Market was no different. Flooding in the area affects Mumbaikars in one of the worst ways possible since it completely blocks the highway connecting Mumbai to Navi Mumbai — a route taken by lakhs of commuters
Another area in Sion that faced the blow of monsoon and the BMC’s claims was near the famous Gurukripa Restaurant. Geographically, these spots fall under the “low-lying areas of Mumbai”. But the BMC can't get away with the fact that there has been absolutely no improvement in controlling the floods except in parts of the Elphinstone Road area.
Death by manhole. Photo: Reuters
Despite its blatant lies about monsoon preparedness, the BMC claims that the reason behind the frequent incidents of flooding is Mumbai's Geographical location — the municipal body claims that it is a coastal city and thus prone to flooding. But the BMC conveniently refrains from addressing the different tactics employed by these cities to tackle flooding.
Despite thousands of crores of public money being spent on desiliting nullas, repairing roads and cleaning drainage, why does flooding occur year after year? If Mumbaikars (who are the actual taxpayers) question the BMC about where their money is going, what is wrong? What do we do with the BMC's claims?
In September 2017, Elphinstone Road had become the talk of the town after the death of gastroenterologist Dr Deepak Amrapurkar, who lost his life after falling into an open manhole. Therefore, this year, the BMC urged all its ward officials to ensure that the manholes are covered. However, a three-year-old boy lost his life after slipping into an open drain in Mumbai's Cheeta Camp area.
Gastroenterologist Dr Amrapukar fell into a manhole and died in 2017. Photo: Screengrab
Three-year-old Adihan Parvez Tamboli died after slipping into an open drain at Cheeta Camp. Photo: Indian Express
So, who is responsible for his death? I declare to the BMC that it should urge Mumbaikars to pay for their own deaths for that's what citizens have been doing in the name of paying taxes.
The BMC undoubtedly needs better technology and planning. More importantly, it needs to care about the people of Mumbai. How can bullet trains, underground Metros, monorails and hyperloop transport services be a priority for the BMC and the government when they fail to provide basic civic amenities to Mumbaikars? The holders of plum positions are collecting taxes from the civic society members and selling them suffering and death in return.
The BMC can develop this city if only it values the lives of its people. Without this, citizens will continue paying for their own demise!