Rains continue to hammer Mumbai, hit transport; flight overshoots runway

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Mumbai, July 10 (IANS) Road, rail traffic and flights were hit as the country’s commercial capital and many parts of Maharashtra continued to be hammered by incessant rains for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, officials said. Mumbai has now been placed at high alert.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the legislature that all agencies including the Indian Navy, the Disaster Management Cell and others are working hard to provide all assistance to Mumbaikars.

Anxious moments were experienced at Mumbai Airport when an Air India Express flight IX-213 with 89 passengers, while landing on the alternate runway 14 at around 3 p.m., overshot the runway by 10 feet and stopped on the paved stopway.

An AIX spokesperson said though the aircraft landed correctly and used maximum braking, it could not stop owing to the slippery conditions following heavy rains and stopped only on the paved stopway. There was no damage to the aircraft nor injuries to the passengers or crew.

An airport spokesperson said flight arrivals and departures were delayed by around 25 minutes with no cancellations or diversions.

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Mumbai’s lifeline, the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) suburban trains, were running late by 45-60 minutes due to waterlogged tracks, causing major delays to the morning commuters.

WR services on the critical Vasai-Virar sector were cancelled. Services operated only between Churchgate and Vasai, as tracks lay submerged between Vasai-Virar, and electrical cables, signaling and other equipment were damaged.

Several inbound or outbound long-distance trains, including even the Rajdhani Express, August Kranti Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express and others, were either cancelled, terminated en route or diverted on the Mumbai-Gujarat and Mumbai-New Delhi sectors.

WR spokesman G. Mahapurkar said over 700 food packets and water was distributed to thousands of stranded passengers at various stations and in trains halted en route on the network and efforts were on to restore services after the waters receded.

As a precaution, Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Tuesday advised all school and college principals to monitor the rainfall position in their areas and declare a holiday if necessary for the second consecutive day.

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According to the IMD, Mumbai recorded 165.8 mm rains so far this morning whereas the suburbs received 184.3 mm. More rains were forecast for the next couple of days.

In the past 21 days, the city has received over 60 per cent of its average seasonal total rains, said the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Areas like Dahisar, Borivali, Malad, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Santacruz, Mahim, Kurla, Parel, Dadar, Chembur, King Circle, Sion, Wadala, Masjid Bunder, Ghatkopar, Powai, Bhandup, Mankhurd experienced heavy waterlogging, impeding traffic and pedestrian movement.

In a rare instance, Mumbai’s famed Dabbawalas suspended all their tiffin box delivery operations on Tuesday, while many private offices in south Mumbai permitted their employees to leave a few hours early to enable them reach homes safely.

In many areas of south-central Mumbai, disaster relief teams were out in inflatable rubber dinghies in ongoing efforts to guide people, shift them to safer locations or monitor the localities for any emergencies.

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Massive traffic snarls were witnessed on the Eastern Express Highway, Western Express Highway and the Eastern Freeway all over the city.

Besides Mumbai, the adjoining districts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) like Thane, Palghar and Raigad also got heavy rains.

The worst-hit were Vasai, Nala Sopara, Virar, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Badlapur, and many villages and towns where thousands of homes were flooded or waterlogged with knee-deep waters.

The Disaster Management Unit of Palghar mounted a rescue operation in Mithagar coastal villages and rescued 66 people from the flood fury, mostly senior citizens and also including a pregnant woman.

The body of a villager who died due to cardiac arrest on Tuesday was brought to a local Palghar hospital by boat as ambulances could not reach the flooded village, an official said.

Teams of NDRF, SDRF, Fire Brigades and other agencies were on high alert in Mumbai and all other districts.

–IANS

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