Mumbai, July 9 (IANS) Heavy rains continued to batter Mumbai, its surroundings and large parts of Maharashtra for the third consecutive day on Monday, hitting normal life and disrupting rail and road traffic, an official said.
In a major operation mounted in neighbouring Palghar, the administration rescued over 275 villagers stranded in their their 100-odd homes on the coastal salt-pans in Vasai which flooded this morning due to heavy overnight rains.
Mumbai’s lifelines, the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) were running late by around 15-20 minutes due to waterlogged tracks at various points on the network, causing misery for millions of morning-evening peak hour commuters.
WR cancelled 50 services and another 100-plus were delayed adding to commuters woes, but there was no major breakdown in operations despite tracks being flooded at many places.
While Mumbai Airport officials said there were no major flight disruptions, Ixigo CEO Aloke Bajpai claimed that 28 percent of all flights were hit by delays to and from Mumbai, with services to New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Hong Kong and Singapore affected on Monday.
As a precautionary measure, Eduation Minister Vinod Tawde announced closure of all schools and colleges in the city and surrounding measures for the day.
The city was lashed with 78.6 mm of rain, and suburbs got 68.1 mm till Monday evening, and heavy rains continued with short spells of break.
So far, in the past 20 days, the city has received 54 percent of its average annual total rainfall, said the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation. More rains are forecast over the next two days.
Several parts of Mumbai and adjoining districts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) like Thane, Palghar and Raigad were flooded and many areas waterlogged in the incessant downpour.
Areas like Dahisar, Borivali, Malad, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Santacruz, Mahim, Kurla, Parel, Dadar, King Circle, Sion, Wadala, Masjid Bunder, Ghatkopar, Powai, Bhandup and others experienced heavy waterlogging impeding traffic and pedestrian movement.
After the Gokhale Bridge incident in Andheri which left one woman dead, the WR on Sunday announced continued closure of the northern carriageway and the footpaths — the Kalanagar road overbridge (ROB), the south cantilever portion footpath at Mahim, the old Vasai Road ROB and the skywalk portion at Malad foot overbridge – as a precautionary measure.
The BMC said the catchment areas of all the lakes supplying drinking water to the city of 18 million, received good rains, while the smallest of all Tulsi Lake in Borivali east overflowed, bringing a cheer to the Mumbaikars.
In the past 24 hours, Mumbai received an average of 171.6 mm rains, making it one of the wettest spells in the current monsoon, said the IMD Mumbai.
Mounting a major rescue operation in Palghar, disaster teams reached out to the stranded villagers in Mithagar saltpans in Vasai west under the supervision of District Disaster Management Officer Vivekananda Kadam and tehsildar Kiran Survase.
They organized motorized inflatable boats to reach the villagers scattered at various locations and gave them food packets and drinking water, while many of the stranded, especially kids and senior citizens, were shifted to safer havens nearby.
Around a dozen tourists trapped near a swollen waterfall in Ratnagiri were rescued by a group of mountaineers and hikers.
Two days ago, one person from Mumbai was killed and over 100 rescued when they were caught under flash floods at the famed Chinchoti waterfalls near Virar.
Since the past 72 hours, around a dozen people have been killed in rain-related incidents and accidents in the MMR.
After heavy rains, several big and small rivers, streams and ponds in the tourist hotspots like Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Tansa Forest Sanctuary, Yeoor Hills and other areas in MMR, besides the Vaitarna, Surya and Ulhas Rivers, overflowed.
Teams of NDRF, SDRF, Fire Brigades, divers and other agencies are kept on high alert in Mumbai and all other districts including beaches, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc to tackle any emergencies.