A day after the weather department declared the onset of the south-west monsoon in Mumbai, there is rising concern over how well-prepared the city is to handle the problems that come with it. Water-logging, flooding, open potholes and spiraling traffic problems pose significant problems for Mumbai, considered to be the most crowded city in the country. All eyes are on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC, the country's richest municipal corporation, which comes in for harsh criticism every year for poorly handling the monsoon.
While the BMC has increased its budget by more than 100% for upgrading the city's infrastructure this year, the municipal body still has a lot of pending work to do. Mumbai's mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar expressed concerns over waterlogging in the city, saying that it could happen again this year if it rains more than 300 mm every day.
"We have done work this time. There are pumping stations being placed. But there still is a fear that if it rains more than 300 mm a day, there could be waterlogging," he said.
The BMC, which got a total budget of over Rs 25,000 crore for 2019-20, says it has increased allocation for roads and storm drains to Rs 3,820 crore and Rs 825 crore respectively, a budget increase by 100% since the last five years.
However, the BMC has also called for 29 bridges across Mumbai to be shut, a decision that will compound the city's major traffic issues. The city's metro and road construction work will further slow traffic, claims an opposition leader.
"Because of these construction city is slowed down for hour or two. Most travel is taking more than double time. This is a more acute problem now," said Raees Sheikh, a BMC opposition leader.
While some areas in Mumbai, including Andheri and Santacruz, received light showers today, the weather department said Mumbai will begin facing heavy rain for the next three days till June 29.
The south-west monsoon usually reaches Mumbai on June 10 every year.
This year, its late by more than two weeks.
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