MUMBAI: Heavy rains pounded Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday, flooding the low-lying areas, causing cancellation of several local trains, delaying flights and disrupting road traffic movement.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which has predicted intense showers in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas in the next 24 hours, has issued a ‘red alert’, asking the authorities to be prepared to handle any situation.
The state government has asked the officials concerned to monitor the inflow of water in dams in western Maharashtra, where some districts were ravaged by floods last month.
The Mumbai civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), asked all schools to remain shut and to ensure that the students were sent back home safely.
Over 100 villages in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Vidarbha region and several others in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg of Konkan region were cut off from other parts of the districts due to waterlogging on roads, officials said.
Landslides were also reported in some Western Ghats areas of Raigad and Sindhudurg districts.
After a brief lull last week, the south-west monsoon again got activated, leading to heavy downpour in Mumbai and several other parts of the state on Wednesday.
The heavy rains made a comeback at a time when people across the state are celebrating the 10-day Ganesh festival.
In Mumbai and its suburbs, the heavy downpour caused flooding in low-lying areas, leading to cancellation of several local trains on the Central and Harbour railway lines and some sections of the Western line.
Though the city’s lifelines – Western Railway and Central Railway – continued to function with hiccups, by noon, the local and long-distance services had to be suspended due to heavy waterlogging on railway tracks at different locations.
WR was suspended for several hours between Churchgate-Andheri and Vasai-Virar due to waterlogging near Mahim-Matunga.
However, by 6pm, the trains were restored between Churchgate-Vasai, though tracks on the Vasai-Virar sector were still submerged after over 50 cms rainfall in the area, said a WR spokesperson.
The WR cancelled two long-distance services, short-terminated two, diverted four and rescheduled 18 trains on its network on Wednesday, throwing passengers plans haywire.
The CR was suspended between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Thane, but surprisingly, the vulnerable Harbour Line operated with delays. The CR cancelled 24 long-distance trains, short-terminated four, short-originated three and rescheduled seven trains.
Chaos reigned on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and Western Express Highway (WEH), main roads and arterial roads with waterlogging in many areas like Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Sion, Kings Circle, Wadala, Chunabhatti, Bandra, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar.
Many low-lying areas in the city including Sion, Wadala, Dadar, Parel, Kings Circle, Matunga, Chunabhatti and in suburbs Andheri, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Malad, Borivali, Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Kurla and surroundings were flooded in one or three feet and more water, in many areas water entered people’s homes on the ground floor.
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Roads on the exteriors like Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Ghodbunder Road, Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, Mumbai-Navi Mumbai Road and others also experienced huge traffic snarls as the snowballing effect of the conditions in Mumbai.
A Mumbai airport official said flights were delayed by an average 25 minutes.
#MumbaiRainlive | Huge traffic jam on Western Express Highway after heavy rains pound Mumbai #MumbaiRains… https://t.co/o3e0sHVSK9
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Out of the 150 weather stations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), around 100 recorded over 200 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours, the IMD said.
“This shows how widespread the rainfall has been over Mumbai. We have issued a red alert for various places, including Mumbai city and suburbs, Thane and Palghar districts, for next 24 hours,” an IMD official told PTI.
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Low pressure over the Bay of Bengal has resulted in torrential showers in Mumbai, Thane and Palghar, he said.
The neighbouring Raigad district received almost 300 mm rainfall in last 24 hours, “but going by the progress of clouds, no red alert has been issued there,” he said.
Parts of Palghar and Thane districts also received more than 204 mm downpour in last 24 hours, he added.
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray in a tweet said the city has witnessed the “heaviest rainfall so far, with the total rainfall mark exceeding the whole of September in just about 30 hours”.
The BMC and the police were making all efforts to keep people safe, he said.
The Mithi river in the city was also flowing close to the danger mark, he said, adding that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies were alerted.
Following heavy rains in neighbouring Thane, collector Rajesh Narvekar also asked the schools in the district to be closed for the day.
A 62-year-old man drowned in a flooded nullah (drain) at Naikpada in Bhiwandi area of Thane, district disaster control room officer Anita Jawanjal said.
The state water resources department asked the officials concerned to closely monitor the inflow in dams and precipitation in their catchment area in western Maharashtra.
“It is a preventative measure to avoid any excess release of water in the river beds which could affect people residing near the river banks,” a senior official said.
Rains severely hit the ongoing Ganeshotsav festivities in the four districts – Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad – and flood waters seeped inside the various marquees and pandals compelling the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti president Naresh Dahibavkar to issue a precautionary appeal.
“All Ganeshotsav mandals are requested to check for any water seepage and whether any power lines are touching water. They must exercise extreme caution and switch off power supply to the marquees (pandals) to ensure safety of all,” Dahibavkar urged.
Shootings of several Bollywood films and teleserials had to be cancelled as water seeped in studios and outdoor locales sites. Sunny Deol postponed the trailer launch of his son Karan’s debut “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” while waterlogging was seen outside Amitabh Bachchan’s Juhu bungalow ‘Prateeksha’ this afternoon.