Incessant rainfall in Mumbai has brought India’s financial capital to a halt. The waterlogging in several parts of the city has badly affected traffic and disrupted power supply, local rail transport and office work. The high tide and predictions of more rainfall mean that the problem is far from over.
But this is not a new challenge for Mumbai or any other Indian metropolis. It is Mumbai this year, it was Gurugram last year and Chennai the year before that. Heavier-than-usual rainfall is definitely the cause of this problem. But there are other fronts where the city governance apparatus is invariably caught napping.
In Mumbai’s case, the 2005 rains actually led to some deliberation on issues of old storm water drainage system and reduction in the catchment areas of various rivers, creeks and ponds. But the follow-up has been sorely lacking. The other problem is the lack of robust emergency response systems. The city administration can be much more proactive with communication and relief operations and help avoid much of the losses to the economy.