EVEN though it stopped raining on Wednesday, it was only on Friday morning that Rajesh Makariya could enter his industrial unit at Navghar in Vasai East. Along with his employees, he spent the entire day draining out the remaining floodwater, muck and dead insects from his nut-bolt manufacturing unit on the ground floor of the estate. Taking stock of the damage to his unit, Makariya said, “Including raw material and machinery, I have suffered a loss of at least Rs 25 lakh. This is excluding the production cost.” It will take Makariya at least 15 days to procure new machinery and get his unit restarted, putting him a fortnight behind schedule for his order.
Until Thursday morning, over 120 industrial estates in the Navghar industrial area were completely inaccessible because of heavy waterlogging. “On Tuesday, water in the industrial area was as high as four feet. All the ground floor units have suffered great losses,” said Sunil Bhandari, who owns an electrical equipment manufacturing unit on the first floor. An electric short circuit has left his unit without any power.
Like Makariya, who is a Kandivali resident, many manufacturers could not reach Vasai until Wednesday evening as train services were shut. “Even when I reached the unit, there wasn’t much I could do as the water level was so high. Now that very little water is left, some have brought in pumps to drain out the water from the units,” said Makariya. There are around 2,500 industrial units in the Navghar industrial area employing around 25,000 people, according to the Vasai Industries Association (VIA). These units manufacture plastic products, automotive parts, pharmaceuticals and rubber products.
“Of these, at least 1,200 units have been affected by the waterlogging,” said Anil Ambardekar, VIA president. The association has estimated a total loss of Rs 150 crore to the industrial hub. “From the data we have collected so far, at least Rs 150 crore has been lost in the wastage of raw material and equipment. Many of these equipment were imported at great costs and will be a major setback for the industries,” Ambardekar said, adding that this was the first time that the Navghar industrial area was flooded since its establishment in 1985.
Even as the floodwater receded on Friday, most manufacturers were still removing pails of water and cleaning the premises by Friday afternoon. The flood has thrown the entire hub out of gear. On Friday, Mayor Rupesh Jadhav visited the industrial area to gauge the situation. “We observed that water was flowing back from the creek into the industrial area. It was noticed that there was a blockage because of the construction of a bridge between Naigaon and Vasai. The blockage was removed and water receded,” Jadhav told The Indian Express.