DESPITE its claims of being ready for the monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received 54 complaints of trees or branches falling after just two days of moderate rain, between June 10 and June 11. On Monday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) officially declared the arrival of the monsoon season in Mumbai.
Officials from the BMC’s garden department have said that around 60,000 trees were trimmed before the rains hit the city. However, once the showers began, complaints of tree falls came in from across the three zones. According to the disaster management department, the highest number of complaints, 24, came from the eastern suburbs.
The western suburbs reported 21 complaints while nine came from the island city area. Defending the department, an official said that of the total number of cases, only around 25 were of trees falling. “Such complaints are usually higher at the start and the end of the monsoon season. In the beginning of the season, trees are not used to the rain and towards the end, the wind velocity is higher,” said the official.
According to the disaster department’s monsoon report, between 8:30 am on June 11 till 8:30 am on June 12, the weather station at Colaba recorded rainfall of 94 mm while the one at Santacruz recorded rainfall of 70.6 mm. With barely a couple of days of rain, the civic body has received complaints of water logging at 20 locations in the city. Of these, four were from the island city, two from the eastern suburbs and 14 from the western suburbs.
Civic officials attributed this to the heavy rainfall the city received on June 10 between10 am and 1 pm. The BMC’s rain plan has identified 203 major water-logging spots in the city, the majority of which lie in F North (Matunga) ward. Incidentally, this year, the storm water drains department was unable to complete de-silting of the Mithi river in the western suburbs and was lagging behind target in the other parts, owing to a delay in acquiring permissions from the standing committee.
As part of its monsoon preparedness plan, the BMC has identified 287 landslide spots in the city, a figure marginally higher than last year. The S ward, which includes areas such as Bhandup, has 161 landslide such spots, the highest among administrative wards. As many as 74 sites have been identified as vulnerable settlements, which includes coastal areas, people living near high-tension cables or near creek areas.
“Every year, we take stock of these areas and have sent the updated list to the collector about two weeks ago. The residents of these areas have been served evacuation notices by the collector and the deputy municipal commissioner,” said an official. The civic body has also identified 632 buildings in the city as dangerous and dilapidated. While most are private property, 97 of these buildings are owned by the BMC and 49 by the MHADA or the government.