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

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Deluge and Delusion

Indian cities are drowning because of poor governance and indifference.

Indian cities are drowning not just because of unusually high rainfall. They are going under because of decades of misgovernance and poor urban planning. Mumbai received over 300 mm of rain within 12 hours on 29 August. That is unusual. But it was not the deluge that brought the city to its knees. It was the delusions and indifference of those responsible for managing the city. Despite the terrible events of 26 July 2005, when the city crumbled under three times as much rain leading to loss of life and destruction of property, no lessons have been learned and even basic common sense appears to have been abandoned.

Mumbai is not the only city in India to have experienced unusually high rainfall over a short period this year. On 26 and 27 July, Ahmedabad was awash when rain that was 11 times the average fell on the city. On 21 August, Chandigarh received 23 times the average rain for this season. On 15 August, Bengaluru was inundated when 37 times the average rain fell on parts of the city. The flooding in these cities was exacerbated for the same reasons that Mumbai suffered on 29 August. It was not just the inadequacy of storm water drains, although in Mumbai this has been a long-standing factor that somehow never gets addressed. In all these cities, the root of the problem has been the callous indifference of the authorities to the natural features that facilitate the absorption of excess water. These are mangroves, wetlands, salt pans, floodplains, lakes, tanks and open grasslands.

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Updated On : 4th Sep, 2017
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