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Mumbai drained out

The monsoon hit Mumbai last fortnight and Mumbaikars are not sure if they should laugh or cry.

T.V. Mahalingam & Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: July 11, 2010

The monsoon hit Mumbai last fortnight and Mumbaikars are not sure if they should laugh or cry. The citizens of India's financial capital have been facing water cuts for the last four months as the city's water reservoirs dried out after poor rainfall last year. But instead of greeting the showers, Mumbaikars are worried about flooding—an annual feature.

Floods are nothing new to Mumbai. Even before the deluge of 2005, when the skies opened up one July morning dumping more than three feet of water on Mumbai, the city was swamped two decades before as well. Back then, the state government had come with a proposal to overhaul the city's drainage system. Known as Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System (BRIMSTOWAD), the project involved replacing old drains, setting up pumping stations, clearing encroachments etc.

Mumbai has hundred plus-year-old drainage system, which included 2,000 km of open drain and 440 km of closed drains, and the costs were significant—estimated at Rs 600 crore in 1993. Since the July 2005 floods, less than 15 of the proposed 62 works have been completed and the tab for the project has gone over Rs 2,000 crore. Swimwear might be the order of the day for Mumbaikars.

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