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'Re-plan our metros'
August 10, 2005
What do you think needs to be done by the government and the great people of Mumbai to ensure such a disaster does not occur again?
Earlier responses: 'Stop blaming the rains'
'Mumbaities are equally to blame'
'Mumbai is the filthiest city'
'We don't need a government'
'Mumbai is not a refugee shelter'
Partly privatise the cleaning of Mumbai city which will automatically ensure BMC's competitiveness.
Restrict giving new licences for three wheelers/taxis
Demolish slums on all important areas like airports, road encroachments, rail enroachments,etc. Alternatively providing houses to people living in slums at distant areas.
Immediately undertaking the projects for subways/flyovers to avoid traffic jams.
Awareness of cleaniness continously to public through medias (television, FM radio). Also penalising harshly for people spitting on roads, throwing garbage,etc.
It's a long process. No government in this world can do any thing unless the city is properly organized. So government should start organising the city from now onwards. Which will help to our next generation. As it will take at least 10 years to start from scratch.
Michael Crichton, the celebrated of Jurassic Park, once said that often Third World countries "skip" or rather "jump" development. What he means is in one way applicable to India.
On one hand we are launching satellites and talking about cellphone/IT penetration and being one of the top ten economies in the world and on the other hand one of our biggest cities cant provide respite of the basic kind to its citizens in a natural calamity. This isn't an attribute of a developed nation.
Surely something is wrong somewhere.
I think the media has been doing its bit while reminding everyone that infrastructure in the cities is missing. For example, The Hindu pointed out that in Bangalore the vehicle strength has gone up to 25 lac from 5 lacs but the road widths have been same for the last 20 years.
What good will the 4 floor shopping mall do when we do not have good roads and basic transportation facilities in the city? If a day of rain can do this to a city like Bombay I shudder to imagine what lies in store for other Indian cities.
To make a calculative introspection of a problem like this, we need to dig deeper. The foundations for the atmosphere that prevails today have been laid much before we can think of and the roots go much deeper.
There are two things intrinsic to the Indian way of life. One is the "Chalta hai" attitude which is a part of every one of us. You, me and just about everyone else has this attitude in some quantity or the other.
You may ask, how does this attitude fits in this situation? As one reader pointed out, "Mumbai is filth" and Indians treat their cities like dustbins. If these opinions have to be changed, this attitude has to go. Rationalism should score and be a part of our thinking process.
The other thing is the "babu" attitude which every politician and bureaucrat thrives on. Projects and Plans are made and spend most of their lifetime in the files. By the time they are implemented they have turned unfeasible in one way or the other. We may be living in the 21st century but our government organisations are still in the 1960s. Most of them. They may have acquired image makeovers and feel-good looks but at the grassroot level, the "babu" attitude exists.
I think rediff.com is doing a commendable job and whether or not my letter makes it to the web site, I would urge you to keep open the debating arena for some more time. We need to see India waking up to this. And then after some time, opened again, to remind India that what was once we, Indians, thought had woken up to.
I guess, first and foremost, lets stop passing on the entire blame to the government of Maharashtra. I would like to divide this article into facts and possible solutions.
Many factors to be considered here, namely:
1. Natural disaster: Its a natural disaster, which has occurred way beyond anybody's anticipation. So all your infrastructure, disaster management systems, the experts are rendered utterly helpless, atleast in the nearest future. This is true with all the nations and cities and not just with the spirited Mumbai city alone.
2. Infrastructure: Secondly, as most of us feel, an adequate existing infrastructure -- like adequate drainage system - would have reduced the loss to some extent. Now going further ahead, even with the best of drainage system, with high tide and heavy rains the BMC had to close all the outlets which carry waste water and sewage into the sea, which actually leads to flooding. So it again brings us back to my first point of natural disaster.
3. Plastic bags and alike: Now, the real and the big issue -- Plastic bags. I don't thing I have to write more on this.
4. Unauthorised Constructions: Let's be frank, half of the people affected are the ones who had built illegal houses on street sides and at times right on the drainage itself. Here, yes, government has a big role to play and with immediate effect.
There are many more......
Here are some possible solutions:
1. We the People: Lets be realistic and stop disposing materials which cannot be swallowed by the sea, namely plastic bags, rubber, etc. I guess, this onus is on us for sure.
2. Infrastructure: First get the basic infrastructure like adequate drainage system in place. And from long term point of view sophisticate the infrastructure.
3. Unauthorised Constructions. No two opinions about it, get rid of it as soon as possible.
Conclusion: Its not just the government and the authorities that were responsible for the hazard, but also the legal citizens of this city of its kind. And again it's responsibility of the government as well as the citizens to get things in place and thus ensure that such a disaster will be managed in a much more efficient way in the coming future.
--Phanindra N Musale
To know what should be done to stop a natural calamity we need to find the root causes of these calamities.
I think it occurs only when there is an imbalance in the nature. So whatever we do, however technologically advanced we become, we should never neglect nature and try to maintain the balance that nature has been maintaining single handedly.
I think the reason for floods in every single metro is because of the increasing concrete rate in the cities. These days it's very hard to see the soil in any metro, apart from the outskirts. Everywhere all we see is concrete. So how do you think the natural drainage system will work?
The soil absorbs the excess water from the surface. But if there is no soil then no water is absorbed and hence the water gets accumulated. Even if we make the best of drainage system I don't think we can beat nature.
So either we reduce the concrete level in metros to a certain level so that the balance is maintained. Or we build up huge drains to drain the accumulated water.
I think government should re-plan our metros, and maintain a balance between soil and concrete. Engineers can very much calculate the ratio to which it should be permitted to cover the land with concrete with respect to the rate at which it rains in the respective metro.
I know if we try we can do it. Because when we can reach the moon and Mars, we can very well do something for our own self. Charity begins at home -- so why don't we use some of our so advanced technologies to make our home safe and keep ourselves informed?