ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
-A A +A

Lessons from the Deluge

The systemic failure in Mumbai during the deluge points to the lack of a clear appreciation of the implications of the city's hazard exposure, the vulnerabilities of its people, infrastructure and institutions, and the absence of coordinated interventions to mitigate risks by a series of governments. A political framework for long-range urban infrastructure development and risk unbundling will need to be constructed in Mumbai.

Some of these (flood concentration areas in Mumbai1 ) have a tendency to disrupt traffic and paralyse city life. A number of steps such as de-silting of drainage and clearing of nallahs are taken by BMC and Railways to avoid such flooding. However, a combination of heavy precipitation and high tide may make such flooding unavoidable

– ‘Mumbai Disaster Management Plan’, Government of Maharashtra, 1999

A Watershed Event Business as usual, irrespective of drought, plague, famine or riot has been Mumbai’s hallmark through the great cotton boom of the mid-19th century to becoming one of the great megacities of the early 21st century. The city’s confident stride was broken slightly by the textile strikes of the 1980s and civil strife in the early 1990s, as it struggled to transform itself from an industrial and commercial powerhouse to a global player in a networked world. This led to some speculation about whether it would go the way of the genteel decline of old industrial centers like Manchester, Kolkata or even parts of east London; be slowly torn apart by disparities of class, communal strife and rapid institutional decline or possibly become the Hong Kong or Shanghai of south Asia [Bombay First-McKinsey 2003; Mukhopadhyay 2001]. At the surface, feel-good rhetoric has ruled the day but to some the rot seemed to grow deeper with every year

Mumbaikers, pragmatic, vital people that they are, typically brushed aside these abstract concerns of a small clutch of academics, administrators and risk professionals

They went about life as usual, all the way into the early evening of July 26, 2005. But by nightfall, it was clear to many million people in Mumbai that life may never be quite the same again.2 An exceptional rainstorm finally put to rest the long prevailing myth of Mumbai’s indestructible resilience to all kinds of shocks, including that of the partition

Over a week of incessant rainfall brought the world’s second largest municipality to its knees. Over a million people were seriously affected, lives of many millions were dislocated. Lifeline infrastructure and services that are taken for granted in city life: water, sewerage, drainage, road, rail and air transport, power and telecommunications stopped functioning across much of the city. Civic and political institutions of all hues were paralysed. Emergency services were naturally overwhelmed. Even the much-touted private sector was caught napping with ATM banking services based in Mumbai coming to a halt across much of India. Schoolchildren, blue-collar workers, CEOs and film stars alike waded home for hours through chest deep water

The shock was not so much the ferocity of the worst rainstorm in the city’s recorded history, but the breakdown of Mumbai’s 150-year old institutions of civic management and governance and the apparent lack of effective emergency response

The government of Maharashtra developed India’s first urban Disaster Management Plan (DMP) for Mumbai3 in the late-1990s, which identified flooding as a significant risk, pinpointed bottleneck locations in each ward, and vulnerable slums and settlements [GoM 1999; Vatsa and Joseph 2003]. The sadness is that in spite of this, there was no systematic action taken over half a decade to mitigate this risk

It is not that all support systems failed to deliver in Mumbai. Lakhs of ordinary people, the armed forces and in some areas the police and civic administration along with community based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) rose bravely to the challenge

This seems to point in only one direction: the lack of a clear appreciation of the implications of Mumbai’s hazard exposure; the considerable vulnerabilities of its people, infrastructure and institutions; and the lack of coordinated interventions by a series of governments to mitigate the multiple risks the city is exposed to. Yet, in spite of its tardiness, the responsibility of this systemic failure cannot be exclusively laid at the door of the government of the day. Successfully building a culture of risk mitigation and emergency preparedness, as Japan and even Bangladesh have demonstrated is often decades in the making and necessarily involves communities, the private sector, civil society, the state and national government

Therefore, interventions by each of these stakeholders at all these levels will be necessary if Mumbai has to live down the trauma of July 2005 and the international concern about it being a less than adequate place to work from and do serious business in

Driving Forces Systemic failures have deep-roots that cannot be explained by sweeping generalisations like Mumbai’s failure to respect nature or plan adequately, which are correct but inactionable. Similarly ad hoc solutions ranging from finding an appropriate CEO for the city, creating a separate Mumbai disaster management agency to building flood defences often create more problems than those that they seek to solve.4 We need to delve deeper to uncover the driving forces that seem to have captured the city in a vicious and negative downward spiral. The irony is that these forces are often driven by successful past urban management practices that now feed on Mumbai’s strategic vulnerabilities

First, few know that Mumbai is moderately or highly exposed to a plethora of natural and human-made hazards: earthquakes (both on and offshore), landslides, cyclonic storms and possibly storm surge, sea-level rise, rainstorms and local and regional flooding, drought, chemical, industrial and nuclear accidents and civil strife [GoM 1999]. In short, its strategic location that drew everybody from the East India Company to migrants from eastern India comes with inherent constraints that need to be respected. Mumbai, like other megacities, is such a large agglomeration of people, infrastructure and capital that it constitutes a huge concentration of risk that needs to be addressed both systemically and systematically through a process of strategic long-range urban planning [Moffat 2003]

Mumbai lies in the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Seismic Zone III with a most severe historical earthquake of MM Intensity IX (in 1618) with a more recent (1951) event at intensity VIII. This led an IIT-Mumbai research team to ascribe a moderate to severe level of earthquake risk to the city. Conservative earthquake risk scenarios estimate up to 40,000 dead and 1,18,000 seriously injured people in the city, apart from many lakh buildings being damaged [Sinha and Adarsh 1999]

Mumbai was originally reclaimed from a series of seven islands, a dramatic tale of human ingenuity and the power of commerce and engineering in transforming and managing difficult landscape. The Mumbai DMP identifies 10 sections along the Central Railway and 12 along the Western Railway prone to serious flooding along with 235 flooding points within the city [GoM 1999]. This was however, before climate change induced sea-level rise was seriously considered. It would be difficult to imagine an adequate and equitable response to a moderate 0.3 m sea-level rise from the residents of slums and middle class housing in Mumbai, within its current structure of governance. This may well become a reality over the next 50 years [Aggarwal and Lal 2001] – something that most city residents and enterprises are blissfully unaware of

Fire and industrial accidents have been part of the industrial ecology of the city

Fortunately, except for the Victoria dock explosion due to the SS Fort Stikine in 1944, (which killed up to 6,000 and devastated an area of 1.2 sq km in the heart of the city) no serious Bhopal-scale incidents have taken place in the last halfcentury

This is however, no insurance against serious industrial or chemical accidents in the future, especially with the increasing financial pressure on over 1,000 hazardous major ‘old-economy’ industrial units, where safety is easier to compromise than bottom lines along with the fact that most industries have no capability to address off-site impacts [GoM 1999]

Civil strife was a common feature of many of Mumbai’s suburban towns, till it swept through the heart of the city like a scourge in 1993 and is yet to be eliminated

Institutionalisation of disparity, communalisation of politics and civic life, a decline in the credibility and quality of law enforcing and justice institutions and the ingress of organised crime and terror networks into the heart of urban life make this a moderate but high impact risk, something the city has often to rediscover after cyclic periods of complacency

Mumbai is one of the few megacities that has a large and expanding nuclear power and research facility within its urban limits. Therefore, in spite of the efforts of both BARC and the AERB to maintain high levels of nuclear facility safety, most urban managers and re-insurance agencies would classify this as a significant medium-term hazard

Second, Mumbai’s greatest strategic vulnerability emerges from one of its most significant assets – its land market. The city has one of the most skewed land markets in the world, which makes it dollarfor-dollar the eighth most expensive city in the world [RE 2000]. The primary outcome of this is that more than 55 per cent of its residents, who keep the city functioning and economically vibrant cannot afford to live in anything other than squatter settlements, slums and chawls, even though their per capita incomes are significantly higher than many other regions in India. Successive governments and Mumbai’s multiple planning agencies have attempted to address this central question, over 30 years, but have failed

This failure cannot last much longer, if Mumbai is to make yet another attempt at reinventing itself as a world class city. The textile strike of the 1980s marked a watershed in the life of the city, with outmigration exceeding immigration for a period. Similarly, the floods of 2005 may mark the decline of Mumbai as many know it – if the working underclasses, the newly mobile service sector enterprises choose to vote with their feet and move to more attractive locations like Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi or smaller urban centres along the western coast with a better quality of life

City-scale mitigation measures are necessary and possible. These will need to be resource-intensive (in tens of thousands of crore) to have impact on aggregate risk levels. Given this, there would be two temptations, within the establishment. First, to not attempt mitigation because it is perceived and projected to be unaffordable

This is a false argument, as mitigation is one of the most cost-effective investments that can be made in the housing and infrastructure sectors. Second, to choose high-cost options that ensure only some mitigation elements are executed (with advantage to particular interests) as a result of which overall risk levels do not decline substantially. Third, the megacities of the early 21st century (e g, Tokyo, Mumbai, Mexico) are remnants of a global industrial metabolism fed by carbon-rich fossil fuels: coal and oil. The beginning of the end of the age of oil is nearing. Dramatic increases in coal use will probably be constrained by climate change concerns

Recent studies have shown that the metabolism of megacities like Greater Mumbai is unsustainable in the medium-run on account of its huge demand for water energy and food, apart from the untreated waste that finally finds its way into its estuaries and the Arabian sea [Goa 2100 Team 2003]

Mumbai’s sheer scale, the basis of its historical economic and financial power may become a liability in a more uncertain future populated by extreme climate events (of which the 900 mm July 2005 rainstorm was only a moderate example), sea level rise and possible cyclic droughts that would threaten the water security of the city

More important, the economies of scale of large industrial megacities are becoming less attractive in a world of flexible manufacturing, global supply chains, increasing mobility of capital and intense competition for better services and quality of life in smaller, more environmentally benign cities [Moffat 2003]. The risk of future disruption of some of these critical supply chains, including power networks, water, oil and gas pipelines also needs to be considered

If Manuel Castells and Kenichi Ohmae are correct, the future of the 21st century lies with a network of regions centred on small tier-II million cities, with low resource footprints supported by distributed power, transportation and IT infrastructure [Castells 2003; Omhae 1991; Goa 2110 Team 2003]. Mumbai may therefore have an opportunity to reinvent itself as a flexible network of smaller urban centres from Colaba to Kalyan with appropriate changes in economic structure, land use, urban ecology and metabolism. Part of the vision of Navi Mumbai of the 1970s attempted to speak to these concerns. Most important, in an increasingly uncertain future, the city would need to be designed so that a shock could ripple through the landscape without bringing the entire system to a halt

In short, Mumbai, like its aspired alter ego Shanghai, is one of the more hazard prone megacities in the world. In the past, the high risk-return profile of the city helped it sail through with aplomb. If full external costs are counted, net returns are probably declining and possibly negative in bad years. The city must therefore immediately start on a scientific probabilistic assessment of multiple short, medium and longterm risks (both due to natural and humanmade hazards) on a neighbourhood-byneighbourhood basis.5 This will when completed in a couple of years time, provide a systematic basis for building and enabling community and private enterpriseled resilience and the slow and difficult task of overhauling public infrastructure and services. This could give Mumbai some increased resilience during major emergencies that both New York and London exhibited over the last few years

Strategic Vulnerabilities and Risks Mumbai’s greatest strength and vulnerability is its people, especially the 6.5 million who live in slums, chawls and squatter settlements. The residents of these settlements because of their location, poor infrastructure and accessibility are often many times more vulnerable than those in more permanent housing.6 The greatest burden of the recent floods has been borne by the poor, who not only have little or no security of tenure and depend on an insecure informal sector for their livelihood, but also have close to no insurance cover. Mumbai cannot reduce its overall risk profile in the future without addressing the needs of a majority of its residents.7 This will require a strong series of interventions in its land and housing markets [Burra 2005; Patel 2005], which in turn will require considerable political courage and administrative competence to execute

A large proportion of Mumbai’s building stock is aged, dilapidated and partially engineered, implying that it does not meet contemporary standards of building safety [Sinha and Adarsh 1999]. Technical measures to strengthen and retrofit these buildings are moderately well known, but have never been implemented for a city of the scale of Mumbai. It would take considerable institutional and financial innovation, a well thought through set of incentives and regulatory mechanisms and the development of a large new offshoot of the current building industry to enable this at a meaningful scale over a 10 to 15- year time frame. Gujarat’s earthquake repair and retrofitting programme provides an indication that roughly 10 per cent of the capital investment in buildings will be required to support this. Nevertheless, given similar initiatives in California and a few other cities in Asia this could well be a realistic medium-term goal

The unchecked growth of built-up areas in Mumbai that defy most planning, zoning and environmental regulations is one of the major causes of the structural vulnerability of Greater Mumbai. Added to this are weak and vitiated planning practices, that are less driven by infrastructure and services availability and more by defining notional exclusive land use categories that have little relationship to the metabolism and fabric of a 21st century city. The central tenets of long-range urban planning have been systematically violated in Mumbai

This has choked off natural areas that provide its core ecological services: water, food, clean air, waste absorption, and protection against the tide and weather, in favour of more profit for its developers and realtors and greater rents for its regulators and property owners.8 Enough experience of managing urban flooding exists in Maharashtra (and nearby Gujarat) to have designed appropriate urban systems to mitigate the impact of the late July 2005 flooding. The city of Surat has cleaned up its solid waste management systems after the 1994 flood-induced plague outbreak. It has also attempted to develop a system of flood management that addresses the challenge of sudden upstream deluges that reach the city during a period of high tide causing the kind of regional flooding that was experienced in Mumbai.9 The design and maintenance of Mumbai’s strategic and local drainage infrastructure should have been largely within the technical capacity of the skilled and experienced cadre of urban engineers at the BMC. The failure may therefore be more with the institutional bottlenecks, incentives and checks and balances within India’s most well-resourced municipality, rather than with technical competence.10 Given this debacle, there is a clear need to rationalise land cover and land use in Greater Mumbai in keeping with rational ecological and equitable economic considerations, within the framework of the law of the land. This in some cases will require people-sensitive relocation, using standards already developed under the MUTP and some areas, the acquisition of existing illegal and even legal developments.11 The key concern here is that developers’ interests do not overpower ‘public interest’, that the rights of the poor are upheld; else displacement from one location will force them to relocate to another often more risk-prone location.12 This will be a politically difficult task, but experience the world over shows that the long-term human, social and economic risks of not correcting these distortions will hugely outweigh the short-term political and financial gains of the status quo. Too many great cities have been abandoned, from Nineveh and imperial Rome to Dholavira and Hampi, once they lost their function and legitimacy as crossroads of commerce, culture or administration

It is an illusion that Mumbai is less mortal and a prey to decay than these great cities of the past

Both public and privately owned infrastructure collapsed post-inundation in much of Mumbai and will in many areas take weeks and sometimes months to restore

It is an irony that apart from Mumbai’s public water, sewerage and drainage infrastructure, the privately-owned power networks and hi-tech 21st century mobile telecommunication systems were all severely affected. This is contrary to the initial government claim that the failure was because of century-old infrastructure. The flooding was not so much a failure of a particular type or generation of infrastructure but the outcome of a long process of planning, regulatory and implementation failures.13 Even basic common sense principles of having power transformers located over 50-year flood levels and ensuring fail-safe backup power for telecom, water and sewerage infrastructure were not thought through by both public and private agencies. It is hoped that at least the private sector can learn how to mitigate risk effectively and efficiently, in the future

The once well-regarded BMC municipal services have degraded so much (even in non-slum areas) that adequate drainage and solid waste clearance operations are reported to have not been fully undertaken for years. The cumulative impact of this on local and regional flooding is more than apparent. The systematic restructuring and revamping of the BMC urban service delivery and land-use regulation functions are clearly in order. This will be necessary not only to strengthen the political and user accountability of these public service providers but also to ensure equitable service delivery to all areas, leveraging on existing programmes like the Dattak Vastee Yojana. This is a resource-intensive task that needs to be initiated in the next few months, if the credibility of the BMC as a professionally managed institution has to be restored

Urban planners, administrators and political leaders in Maharashtra will need to understand that contemporary cities are as much about infrastructure networks and service access as about real estate values and conforming land uses. Building the energy, water, waste water, transportation, telecom and IT infrastructure for large cities takes many decades. These are very lumpy investments and require massive annual expenditures on operations and maintenance, especially if they are not adequately designed or executed. Some of these services are best provided by public providers in an appropriate regulatory frame, others given quantum leaps in technology and distributed network development are better managed privately. Yet, all of these forms of management will need to assess and mitigate risk adequately. This will require a strengthened municipality and a tenacious but flexible regulatory framework that enables public-private-community partnerships without permitting the externalisation of risk on to citizens at large and the poor in particular. If effectively executed, this is one experience that Mumbai could sell across the world

A most serious vulnerability is the decay of Mumbai’s rich civic culture and the displacement of a culture of citizen commitment to the city into short-time horizon rent seeking, sectarian political gain and bureaucratic quick fixes that miss key systemic challenges by focusing on nearterm solutions: Bandra-Kurla complexes, expressways and sealinks

Risk mitigation is difficult to implement because it requires long institutional development horizons. A political framework for long-range urban infrastructure development and risk unbundling will need to be constructed in Mumbai for the first time in the country. Simultaneously, incentives need to be intelligently designed to facilitate a stream of benefits to politicians, officials and the private sector so that their short- and medium-term interests do not compromise the goal of rebuilding a better, less-risk prone and more equitable city to live in

Mitigation Priorities If Mumbai is to be renewed as a worldclass city, based on the above analysis, a multi-level agenda of action will be required to mitigate multiple risks, as presented below

National Level: (i) Linking-up special elements of the National Seismic and Cyclone Risk mitigation programmes to create a national urban vulnerability reduction mission. This in turn will need to be linked with the National Urban Renewal Programme (NURP) at the city level to address mitigation of both natural and manmade hazards

(ii) Revision of the Vulnerability Atlas of India [BMTPC 1997] to include estimates of risk to economic activity and capital stock due to natural and man-made hazards and hence identification of priority districts and cities for intervention (iii) Developing a series of new insurance instruments to provide risk coverage to multiple categories of households and enterprises in cities and incentives for public-community-private partnerships to mitigate risk (iv) Enactment and implementation of laws regulating professional activities of real estate developers, planning, engineering and building design professions, providing for liability for not meeting established national safety standards

(v) Establishment of national lifeline infrastructure standards for water supply, sewerage and sanitation, power, telecommunications, transportation and IT and guidelines to upgrade legacy infrastructure

State level: (i) Upgrading the existing departmental functions through the creation of a Maharashtra state disaster management authority (MSDMA) on the lines of the model bill and the experience of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (www.gsdma.org) with appropriate powers and responsibilities to intervene in urban areas

(ii) Notifying changes in relevant housing and urban development, town planning and infrastructure related legislations to integrate disaster mitigation concerns into urban planning and development drawing upon best practices in India and Asia

City level: (i) Re-examining the urban governance, planning and service delivery framework and institutional arrangements for Greater Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) with a focus on linking urban renewal and development with risk mitigation. The overarching frame would need to be that of the 74th Constitutional Amendment and the need to correct distortions in the real estate and housing markets, through a mix of strong public and private intervention [Patel 2005]

(ii) Developing a structure plan for the MMR that links strategic urban services (transportation, energy, water supply, sewerage, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management), land-use planning and strategic risk mitigation

(iii) Developing a long-range (30-year) vision and action plan for strategic risk sharing and mitigation for the MMR, through a multi-stakeholder engagement and appropriate fiscal and financial incentives for risk mitigation

(iv) Updating the Mumbai Disaster Management Plan and the ward DMPs [GoM 1999] within this, linking it to zonal development planning and building regulation via a common publicly accessible GIS database

(v) Launching a Greater Mumbai multiagency disaster mitigation mission with a chief secretary rank officer at the head that has sweeping powers of mobilising public, private and civil society organisations and intervening in the land market, infrastructure planning and development, urban planning and regulation. Within this mandate: (a) Strengthening emergency response and mitigation functions through a process of devolution of functions to the ward level and greater local political participation and community-based disaster management initiatives (b) Developing and placing in the public domain a GIS-based probabilistic composite risk assessment and mitigation framework for earthquake, cyclone, flooding, storm surge, sea-level rise, civil strife, fire, chemical accidents at neighbourhood level (e g, based on the experiences of GSDMA (2005)). This could be linked to a public database that would record all building permissions given and public investment in infrastructure and hence, could provide the overall framework within which ward and neighbourhood-level risk mitigation and planning would operate

(c) Establishing a credible urban disaster response and recovery capacity in the city, built around existing specialised agencies (e g, police, fire and trauma care services)

Strengthening of existing central control rooms, ward emergency operations centres, protocols for emergency response and management and disaster communication via the public, electronic media and webbased interfaces

(d) Development of a comprehensive multihazard, techno-legal regime for Mumbai: that covers land cover and use, zoning regulations, building and infrastructure

(e) Establishing a public-private-community/owner partnership to finance, build and retrofit housing to disaster resistant standards

(f) Establishing a public-private partnership to finance, build and retrofit infrastructure to disaster resistant standards, including the development of strategic flood, cyclone, storm surge and sea defences

Neighbourhood level: (i) Initiating a city wide network of community-based disaster management initiatives, especially in vulnerable locations, slums, chawls and squatter settlements

(ii) Focus on information sharing, technical support and mobilisation to access entitlements from public agencies and mutual aid during emergency situations

Resourcing from MP, MLA and corporator local area development funds

Private sector: (i) Initiation of appropriate risk assessment and disaster and recovery plans for key private service delivery agencies in the city especially in the power, transport and telecommunications sector

(ii) Sensitisation of the electronic and print media to risk, disaster response, management and mitigation and establishment of standard protocols to enable effective emergency communication and mobilisation (iii) Developing a viable set of financial instruments to enable the upgrading and retrofitting of buildings at risk. Developing a cadre of specialist service providers that could cater to this potential market

(iv) Sensitisation of private sector agencies to the specific risks that their infrastructure, operations and employees may be exposed to and developing a market for agencies that will provide technical support to enable risk mitigation

Civil society: (i) Establishing a network of NGOs and civil society organisations that lead community centred emergency response in particular wards/neighbourhoods, sectors or interest groups under the coordination of a city-wide disaster management agency

(ii) Advocacy and mobilisation around risk mitigation for vulnerable groups

(iii) Executing pilot projects to test new methods of community based disaster mitigation and management

(iv) Providing feedback and checks and balances on the functioning of public agencies and private sector organisations in service delivery and risk mitigation using instruments like the right to information

These and other interventions need to be encoded into city and ward-wise disaster management, response and mitigation plans that are openly debated, updated every three to five years, made publicly available in print and digital form and most important – implemented in a systematic, timely manner. Else, ‘business-as-usual’ will only bring more dramatic disruptions, loss of life and property and business in the future

The choice before the city, its residents and establishment is clear

Email: arevi@taru.org Notes 1 Author’s explanation. The original text refers to flooding points

2 Multiple web reports and blogs. As an example see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ 2005_Mumbai_floods

3 Following the Latur (1993) earthquake and the $ 221 million World Bank funded Maharashtra Emergency Earthquake Reconstruction Programme (MEERP), the government of Maharashtra took a number of positive steps to institutionalise disaster management and mitigation in the state, including the preparation of a State Disaster Management Plan (DMP) and a Mumbai Disaster Management Plan with subsidiary plans at ward level [for details see Vatsa and Joseph 2003]. There has unfortunately been little convergence between the Mumbai DMP and the BMC and MMRDA planning, land use and building regulation functions

4 A variety of opinions expressed in multiple newspaper, electronic media, web and other reports in July and August 2005 5 A key technical intervention is the availability of critical building and infrastructure information as a web-enabled public domain GIS. The Mumbai DMP suggested in 1999 that “All the infrastructural facilities and utilities in Greater Mumbai need to be mapped on to a GIS application on a multi-user basis

There is therefore a need to develop a GIS on a scale of 1:1000. This would help the planners, administrators, emergency services and utility providers”. It would also help address information asymmetry in the land and housing markets

6 The Mumbai DMP [GoM 1999] recognized that “All the slum colonies (whether authorised or unauthorised) are vulnerable to floods, health hazards, fires and cyclones” (p 7). This differential vulnerability of slum areas is the basis of much of the ‘structural’ vulnerability of Greater Mumbai. Addressing this will require going beyond cosmetic measures like forced demolition and relocation of slums and squatter settlements, which are short-term palliatives that do not address the core issue of Mumbai’s dysfunctional land and housing market

7 The Mumbai DMP was ahead of its time in recognising the need to integrate disaster mitigation with slum upgrading via a recognition of the need for tenure security; “Providing collective tenure (leasehold rights) to co-operative housing societies of the (slum) settlements and encouraging them to upgrade the quality of shelter, demonstrated the possibilities of involving communities in the selfhelp process…It therefore becomes essential, that such strategies for shelter improvement take disaster mitigation into consideration, thereby reducing the vulnerabilities of these settlements” [GoM 1999:25]

8 In keeping with good disaster mitigation practice the Mumbai DMP recommended, “Control on land reclamation. All existing water bodies and storm water holding ponds will have to be protected under strict development control rules. Clauses providing for any exceptions should be deleted from the development control rules [GoM 1999:26]

9 This is a well-known risk which many cities (e g, Amsterdam and London) have evolved appropriate water management practices and flood defences for. But none have the unprecedented scale of land tenure problems that Mumbai has. Hence, technocratic solutions will only accentuate the problem, increasing rather than reducing vulnerability over time

10 The responsibility and priorities for drainage/ flood management in Mumbai are clearly defined by the Mumbai DMP: “In the absence of training, soling and regular de-silting (cleaning), most nallahs have a tendency of flooding and choking. It is necessary that a programme of nallah training, soling and cleaning is undertaken rigorously through the Storm-water drainage department of the BMC” [GoM 1999: 24]. A diagnosis of the malaise within urban governance institutions in Mumbai, is a necessary condition before a concrete set of solutions can be identified

11 The Mumbai DMP states “Settlements along the nallahs are vulnerable to floods…This may require shifting of some of the settlements along nallahs” [GoM 1999:24]

12 Recognising the severe limitation of current planning practice, and its ability to be hijacked by short-term political and real estate interests, the Mumbai DMP recommends, “The current typology of settlements only looks at the ownership and eligibility for regularisation. A detailed analysis of the existing settlements in terms of typology, of vulnerability would facilitate the preparation of a master plan for safe siting of such vulnerable settlements [GoM 1999:26]

13 Post-flooding, the government of Maharashtra has made a claim for Rs 1,200 crore from the government of India to upgrade Mumbai’s drainage, which it claims is over 100 years old

It should be noted that much of Mumbai’s colonial era infrastructure is located in the island city. This was less affected in this event, due to lower rainfall in south Mumbai. The bulk of the drainage challenges were experienced in areas extensively developed in the post-independence period. Large sums of international assistance including World Bank funding have gone into planning and upgrading the infrastructure for these areas, since the 1970s. While this has clearly not been enough to deliver adequate services, there is a crying need for an integrated structure plan for the city that links water supply, sewerage, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management, transportation, energy infrastructure and land-use planning for the metropolitan region

References Aggarwal, D and M Lal (2001): Vulnerability of Indian Coastline to Sea Level Rise, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi

BMTPC (1997): Vulnerability Atlas of India, Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council, New Delhi

Bombay First-McKinsey (2003): Vision Mumbai: Transforming Mumbai into a World-Class City: A Summary of Recommendations, Mumbai, September

Burra, S (2005): ‘Towards a Pro-Poor Framework for Slum Upgrading in Mumbai, India’, Environment and Urbanisation, Vol 17, No 1, London, April

Castells, M (2003): The Rise of Information Society, 2nd edition, Blackwell, London

Goa 2100 Team (2003): ‘Goa 2100’ in S Itoh (ed), Urban Design for a Sustainable Future, IGU, Tokyo

GoM (1999): Mumbai Disaster Management Plan, Government of Maharashtra, http://mdmu.maharashtra.gov.in/pages/Mumbai/ – (2005): Maharashtra Floods 2005, Department of Relief and Rehabilitation, Government of Maharashtra, http://mdmu.maharashtra.gov.in/ pdf/Flood/statusreport.pdf)

GSDMA/TARU (2005):Gujarat Vulnerability and Risk Atlas, Gandhinagar

Moffat, S (2003): CitiesPLUS’in S Itoh (ed), Urban Design for a Sustainable Fuure, IGU, Tokyo

Mukhopadhyay, T (2001): Shanghai and Mumbai: Sustainability of Development in a Globalising World, Sanskriti, New Delhi

Ohmae, K (1991): The Borderless World, Harper and Row, New York

Patel, S (2005): Housing Policies for Mumbai, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 40, No 33 August 13, Mumbai

RE (2000): Global Rent Review, Richard Ellis

Sinha, R and N Adarsh (1999): ‘A Postulated Earthquake Damage Scenario for Mumbai’, ISET Journal of Earthquake Technology, Vol 36, Nos 2-3, pp 169-76

Vatsa, K and J Joseph (2003): ‘Disaster Management Plan for the State of Maharashtra, India: Evolutionary Process’, Natural Hazards Review, Vol 4, No 4, November, pp 206-12.

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top