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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

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Heavy rain hits life in Mumbai

By Mahesh Vijapurkar

MUMBAI, JULY 9. Heavy rain disrupted life in Mumbai and surrounding areas on Monday throwing the transport system out of gear with roads and railway tracks being flooded.

But Mahad town in Konkan was the worst-hit where Savitri river is in spate, forcing evacuation of the residents in heavily-flooded areas.

The Mumbai-Goa highway too was lashed by rain, with some landslides in Kashedi Ghat.

In the approach to Mahabaleshwar, a tiny hill station, traffic was in a snarl.

Mumbai and its suburbs, however, are used to this waterlogging for two reasons: the downpour synchronising with high tides in the sea around it which prevents water from flowing out and more importantly, the inability of the civic body, despite spending crores of rupees annually, to keep the storm water drains unclogged.

Such an annual exercise was gone through prior to the onset of the monsoon but to no avail; the civic body fell short of the requirement and the citizen's expectations.

Not enough was done before the onset of the rainy season which normally sees heavy downpour.

In the past three days, nearly 22 cms of rainfall was received in the southern end of the linear city while more than 35 cms was received in the suburbs.

The next 24 hours till Tuesday evening, according to the weather office, would have more of it. This means more disruption of transport.

Train services on Harbour and central lines came to a complete halt for nearly eight hours since early this morning following flooding of the tracks at Sewri, Kurla and Chunabhatti, the Central Railway (CR) sources said.

PTI reports:

Three long-distance trains on the CR were delayed by four to five hours. Trains on western line were, however, running an hour behind schedule.

The flight operations were normal except for the incoming ic 165 Delhi-Mumbai which was delayed by two hours as it was diverted to Ahmedabad, airport sources said.

Several low-lying areas including Matunga, Andheri, Sion and Milan subway at Malad were flooded, and traffic snarls were reported from various parts of the city, causing hardship to office-goers while schools and colleges remained closed.

A school student was injured at Santa Cruz after she fell into a pothole.

16 crewmen of oil rig rescued

The Navy today rescued 16 crew members of a distressed oil rig, drifting about five km off the Mumbai harbour.

Despite the bad weather, the Sea King helicopters were pressed into service by the Navy and those rescued included four Americans, one Canadian, an official release said here today.

The helicopter under the command of Commander Mohinish Singh was launched from the Naval air station, Kunjali, after a distress message was received from the owner of the rig.

The rig was being towed by an offshore supply vessel. However, the vessel was stranded when the tow rope parted leading to the rig being adrift.

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