Urban

Mumbai Rains: Death Toll in Wall Collapse Rises to 22; Opposition Criticises Govt

Indian Meteorological Department has forecast more heavy rains. 

Mumbai: Rain fury claimed at least 35 lives in Maharashtra, including 22 in a wall collapse in Mumbai, even as authorities declared a holiday in the financial capital and adjoining regions.

Twenty two people were killed and nearly 80 injured in a wall collapse in the northern suburb of Malad in Mumbai early Tuesday following heavy rains. The injured were admitted to civic-run hospitals and 15 of them were discharged after primary treatment, a senior civic official told reporters here.

Efforts by rescue workers to get a 15-year-old girl out of the debris of the wall which collapsed in Malad, proved futile as she was brought out dead.

The incident happened around 2 am when a compound wall in Pimpripada in Malad east area collapsed and people living in shanties adjacent to the wall got trapped under the debris.

In a separate incident, two men died inside their car near the Malad Subway. Though the two men tried to escape the car, water pressure did not allow them to open the doors or the windows. They drowned to death.

In Pune, six labourers were killed and three injured after a wall collapsed in Ambegaon area late Monday night. A wall collapse in Kalyan in Thane district early Tuesday killed three people, officials said.

Altogether 54 flights were diverted and 52 cancelled at Mumbais Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport due to inclement weather.

A SpiceJet flight from Jaipur skid and overshot the main runway while landing at the Mumbai airport amid heavy rains on Monday, although none of the passengers were hurt in the incident, an airline spokesperson said.

A wall collapsed on hutments in Pimpripada area of Malad East due to heavy rainfall. A senior NDRF official told reporters at the site that his team searched the debris with advanced equipment and also by canine search for bodies.

The official said that around 2 am, a compound wall in Pimpripada collapsed, trapping people living in shanties adjacent to the wall.

“Our team of National Disaster Response Force along with sniffer dog reached the site of the incident immediately after receiving the information. Besides, a team of fire brigade and local police also reached the spot and took control of the situation,” a senior NDRF official said.

The injured were taken to Jogeshwari Trauma Hospital and Kandivali-based Shatabdi Hospital, a civic official said.

In the incident in Kalyan, the wall of an Urdu school behind Durgai Fort collapsed around 1 am, killing three people in the hutments adjacent.

Heavy rains also saw a joint evacuation operation in suburban Kurla with the NDRF, Navy and fire brigade shifting some 1,000 people to temporary shelters, a Navy official said.

A Navy team encountered extreme waterlogging and abandoned vehicles, preventing their own vehicles from reaching the site, the official added.

The team moved on foot, carrying safety gear like lifebuoys and lifejackets and was able to help elderly women and children to safer areas.

Authorities have declared Tuesday as a public holiday in Mumbai as the Indian Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rains.

“In the wake of the extreme heavy rainfall forecast by the IMD, the Government of Maharashtra has declared a public holiday on July 2 as a precautionary measure for Mumbai city and its citizens,” a civic official said.

Students, who were supposed to come to Mumbai on Tuesday for their documents verification for the undergraduate admission in MBBS, BDS and BAMS courses, have now been given the date of July 5, for the same procedure, CET Commissioner Anand Rayate said.

Mumbai University has also postponed the exam of BSc Computer Science for first and second year students due to heavy rains, an official said.

The Central Railway has also decided to run local trains in limited corridors due to water logging on the railway tracks.

“Trains will run in CSMT-Andheri-Goregaon section in harbour line. Vashi to Panvel in harbour line. Thane to Vashi and Panvel in trans harbour line. CSMT to Thane Karjat and Khopoli sections,” a CR official said.

He said CR personnel, with the help of RPF jawans, rescued thousands of passengers stranded in midnight local trains and served them tea, biscuits and other edible items at stations.

A senior official of the Western Railway said its suburban services are running between Churchgate and Virar even if the frequency was less.

The suburban local train service is also badly affected as low lying areas were submerged. The signalling system became dysfunctional, forcing railway administration to suspend local as well as long distance train movement, said an official from Central Railways.

Over long-distance trains of the central and western railways were either cancelled or terminated ahead of final destination due to heavy rainfall, the official said.

Power utility companies have also suspended the supply in some suburban areas of Mumbai as a precautionary measure.

The heavy downpour also forced Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to cancel his scheduled ground breaking function of construction of a new building for MLAs.

The Meteorological Department has warned of “extremely heavy” rainfall in adjoining areas of Thane and Palghar on July 2, 4 and 5. A few places in Mumbai could get heavy to very heavy rainfall Monday and Tuesday, it added.

Private weather agency Skymet said Mumbai is at “serious risk of flooding” between July 3 and 5. “Close to 200 mm or more rain per day is likely during this period, which could hamper normal life,” it said.

Two waiters electrocuted to death

Two waiters in Kashimira in Thane district were killed on Tuesday when rain water gushed into their hotel and they got electrocuted by a live wire, police said.

Thane Rural police spokesperson Yuvraj Kalkutage said Virendra Dasu Buniya (27) and Rajan Das (19) had gone into the kitchen when they came in contact with a live wire.

One more person has been hospitalised, he added.

“Passing trucks forced water into the hotel’s kitchen, leading to the refrigerator there catching fire. When the two went to check the damage in the kitchen, they were electrocuted,” he said, adding that a case had been registered in this regard.

Opposition criticises state government

Opposition parties lashed out at the ruling Shiv Sena and BJP for the loss of lives due to wall collapse incidents in Mumbai and Pune and attributed them to “corruption”.

Maharashtra Congess chief Ashok Chavan alleged that Bandra’s Kala Nagar, where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray resides, faced water-logging and demanded the saffron party, which heads the BMC, apologise to citizens for “submerging” the city.

Taking a dig at Thackeray, Chavan said Mumbai would not have flooded had the Shiv Sena chief overseen pre-monsoon drainage cleaning works instead of “taking out party MPs” to temples post Lok Sabha elections.

NCP leader Dhananjay Munde criticised the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP over water logging in Mumbai and demanded structural audits of roads, bridges and buildings in Mumbai following the wall collapse incidents.