Heavy rain continued to lash parts of Maharashtra Tuesday, leading to at least 31 deaths in Mumbai and surrounding areas, including 25 in two separate incidents of walls collapsing in Kurar and Kalyan. In Pune, six people were killed in a wall collapse — the second such incident in the city in four days.
Officials said at least 22 people were killed in Kurar’s Pimpripada area, on the fringes of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, when a wall collapsed on hutments early in the morning. Many others are feared trapped in the debris. In Kalyan, three people died after a wall collapsed.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a 45-year-old man died after a compound wall fell on him around overnight at the Falguni Co-operative Housing Society in Mulund.
In another incident, two men, Irfan Khan (38) and Gulshad Shaikh (37), died after drowning in their locked car in the flooded Malad Subway. Officials said a 22-year-old man was electrocuted in Vile Parle West. In Palghar, two men drowned in a surge of river water.
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According to figures logged by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai’s suburbs received the third-highest rainfall recorded in a single day. The IMD’s Santacruz station logged average rainfall in the suburbs for a 24-hour period ending 8.30 am Tuesday at 375.2 mm. The highest ever 24-hour rainfall for the suburbs was recorded on July 26, 2005 (944 mm), and on June 10, 1991 (399 mm).
In Kurla, the BMC requested the Navy to help in assisting stranded residents. “The team from INS Tanaji encountered extreme waterlogging and abandoned vehicles, preventing their own vehicles from reaching the site. The team moved on foot, carrying safety gear including lifebuoys and lifejackets, and was able to help elderly women and children to safer areas,” said a statement from the Ministry of Defence.
Officials said about 1,000 people were shifted to safety with the help of the National Disaster Response Force, the Mumbai Fire Brigade, Naval teams and local volunteers, said officials.
The rains also disrupted air, rail and road transport services. In all, 55 flights, including 26 international flights, to Mumbai were diverted overnight. Twenty-Four domestic and four international departures were cancelled. Eighteen domestic flights and four international incoming flights were cancelled, too.
At least 152 BEST buses reported breakdowns while 58 were stranded in flood waters. Among the trains delayed was the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto, while services on all the three suburban lines were hit.
While schools and colleges were declared shut earlier in the day, the state government declared a full public holiday later. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the BMC tweeted requests to citizens to stay indoors considering the situation outside and the forecast for more rains through the day.
Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said, “We urge people not to step out… There is heavy rainfall predicted for today and tomorrow.”
Following the wall collapse in Kurar, at least 75 survivors were admitted to the Jogeshwari Trauma Centre hospital and to Kandivali’s Shatabdi Hospital. Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale told The Indian Express that a total count of casualties would be possible only at the end of the search-and-rescue operations.
At least one woman and her child were located under a beam, said officials. However, the child was later declared dead. Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Joshi said, “We will conduct an inquiry in the incident and after that action can be planned against the guilty.”
In Pune, six people were killed and three injured after a retaining-cum-compound wall of an educational institute in Ambegaon Budruk collapsed late Monday night, burying the makeshift huts of construction workers on the adjacent plot.
Officials said most of the deceased were migrant workers from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. They were staying in tin sheds alongside the wall of Sou Venutai Chavan polytechnic college on the southern periphery of the city, which had experienced continuous rainfall since Monday evening.
The nearest rainfall monitoring station at Khadakvasla recorded 55 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours between the morning of July 1 and 2, the highest for this season at that station.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the accident could be a result of “man-made mistakes”. “Basic rules were not followed in the construction of the retaining wall. Also, labour camps should not have been constructed along the wall,” he said. On Saturday, 15 people, including four children, had died in similar circumstances in Kondhwa.
(Laxman Singh, Neeraj Tiwari, Gargi Verma, Mohamed Thaver, Abha Goradia & Sagar Rajput in Mumbai; Ajay Jadhav in Pune)