Mumbai gets some relief but more misery feared


Mumbai : With little overnight rains, Mumbaikars heaved a sigh of relief Sunday after a miserable Saturday when India's financial capital was flooded. Officials asked people not to venture out Sunday too, warning of a surge of seawater into the city.

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Municipal workers worked frantically to drain out water in many flooded areas even as water began receding from many neighbourhoods. After a paralysed Saturday, life limped to normalcy Sunday with the railway network, the lifeline of Mumbai, resuming its services. The air links to Mumbai have been restored.

However, the meteorological department has predicted more rains in the next 24 hours.

"Like Saturday, today (Sunday) we have advised people not to venture out unless they really have to. A high tide is expected in the afternoon and there's a possibility of sea water surging into the city," said an official.

Saturday's downpour inundated several areas particularly the low-lying ones in central Mumbai as well as the western and eastern suburbs.

The torrential rains rekindled the ghosts of July 26, 2005 when the deluge claimed 400 lives.

"Saturday's torrent was an alarming echo of that terrible day. We kept our fingers crossed, praying the city should not go under water as it did that day," said Joel Fernandez, a resident of Chembur, which did go under knee-deep water Saturday.

"Thank god it was a Saturday. With schools, colleges and many offices closed for the weekend, the impact was minimized.

"With the Met office predicting more rains, we fear for the worst. Our area gets inundated every year. The water is only expected to rise," said a worried Kiran Dongaonkar, a resident of Wadhala in central suburban Mumbai. "With no vehicles running, how do we commute if it starts pouring again?"

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has been widely blamed for the misery of Saturday, said efforts were on round-the-clock to drain out water from the flooded areas.

"Water levels in certain areas are still at a worrying mark. So there is a possibility of the seawater surging into the city during high tide. Efforts are on to pump out the water as fast possible," said the official.