Mumbai skyscraper at risk as heavy rains clobber Maharashtra
Mumbai : A 32-storey skyscraper in Mumbai was feared to be at risk after a parking lot and driveway caved in while at least seven persons were killed as heavy rains clobbered the city and large parts of coastal Maharashtra, officials said here on Monday.
Around a dozen cars were trapped and damaged after a parking enclosure of the posh Lloyds Estate in Wadala caved in early on Monday, leaving a yawning crater of around 20-30 feet across.
The disaster occurred allegedly on account of ongoing construction of a 40-storey building for which the plinth work was underway and a cement mixer's sludge had choked up the locals drains.
As a precautionary measure, police and disaster officials evacuated nearly 270 families from the C and D towers of Lloyds Estate while efforts were on to verify whether any persons were trapped in the caved-in areas.
While the Antop Hill police station lodged a case against the officials of Dosti Realty, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam, who rushed to the site, termed the development "as shocking and playing with the lives of innocent citizens".
"BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta is heading the crucial Building Proposal Department and hence, he is directly responsible for this (landslide)... If Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis wants the people of Mumbai to be safe, Mehta should be suspended and it should be investigated how Dosti Realty was given permission to carry out its building work," Nirupam said in a statement.
Accusing Mehta of being a corrupt officer, the Congress leader pointed out that the lives of at least 500 families comprising more than 2,500 people could be at risk because of the "sheer negligence of the BMC Commissioner" as the Dosti Realty has flouted rules with impunity.
Overnight heavy rains hit rail and road traffic in Mumbai and other coastal areas as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray compared Monday's downpour to the kind seen in Meghalaya's Cherrapunji.
Belying the claims of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), waterlogging was experienced in several parts of the city and suburbs like Sion, Kurla, Matunga, Kings Circles, Dadar, Malad, Dahisar, Jogeshwari and others.
However, visiting the BMC control room, Thackeray - whose party controls the civic administration - said the situation was "better than previous years, as all the accumulated waters flowed into the Arabian Sea".
In the past 24 hours, Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts received an average of around 300 mm rainfall, with many schools in these areas declaring holiday to avoid inconveniencing students.
On the Western Railway (WR), a portion of the train tracks was washed out in Vapi division, but the situation was brought under control and traffic resumed with speed restrictions later this morning.
The Central Railway suburban train services were disrupted due to waterlogging on the tracks at Thane, Sion, Kurla and other places, while WR local services were delayed due to a technical snag in Bandra.
On the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, there was heavy waterlogging at several points in Mumbai and in Thane and Palghar districts as torrential rains lashed these areas and flood waters blocked the traffic between Maharashtra and Gujarat for several hours.
Waterlogging, minor landslides and cave-ins were reported at certain places on the Mumbai-Goa Highway which traverses through an entire coastal route, hitting traffic movement and leading snarls.
However, flights at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport operated normally with no reports of any major disruptions.
So far, more than two dozen people have lost their lives in various rain-related incidents in and around Mumbai in the past 72 hours, including seven since Sunday night.
Reliance Energy said that a planned power outage early on Monday for the ongoing Metro Railway works passed off smoothly without hitting consumers as the company shifted the load to its alternate networks in Kandivali east.
Meanwhile, the IMD has forecast heavy rains in and around Mumbai over the next two days.