There is no threat of Mumbai getting submerged due to a possible rise in sea level, the government said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while urging MPs to have faith in Indian scientists and their data “rated best in the entire world”.
Responding to a series of queries by Congress and Samajwadi Party members during the Question Hour, Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan said that the question of Mumbai being submerged has arisen due to media reports based on something said outside the country.
“Whatever we are saying is based on the reports of our scientists, and the data produced by them are rated best in the whole world. There is no reason for you to worry about Mumbai. Mumbai is not going to be submerged,” he said in the Upper House.
The minister said that the available data and model studies do not indicate inundation in a major part of southern Mumbai occurring at least once a year during 2040-50, as published in an international study report.
At the Mumbai coast, the average rise in sea level has been around 0.74 mm per year based on the tide gauge data collected during 1878-2005. Accordingly, the sea level at Mumbai coast will increase by 33.3 mm or 3.33 cm from the current level in 2050, he said.
This has been estimated by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS), based on the long term trends in sea level change, using data recorded by the sea level gauge located at Apollo Bandar, Harsh Vardhan said.
To another query on whether the government was playing down the issue, the minister said, “I must tell you, this is the same country which was literally caught unawares in 2004 when we had tsunami. Today, the data that we produce for early warnings of tsunami are rated as number one in the world.”
India is also sharing data on cyclone with other countries along the coast, the minister said. “So, there is no reason why we should doubt the capability of our scientists. We are officially rated number one in the world today,” he noted.
The minister said that the coastal vulnerability maps prepared by the INCOIS, based on the assessment of probable implications to the coast due to sea level rise, suggest that “Mumbai region does not come under very high vulnerable class.”
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