Published in


Mumbai Floods — WTF!

Mumbai Floods 2017

Last evening, on my friends’ WhatsApp group, the only topic discussed was the Mumbai rains. Probably the only reason was that 3 of my friends in the WhatsApp group, including my younger brother, are in Mumbai. My best friend’s sister also stays in Mumbai. They were coordinating with each other as to which road to take and how to reach home safely. No one said it, but all of us were thinking about the 2005 Mumbai floods. My brother reached home safely after 2 hours in traffic. All my other friends are safe as well.

It rained like crazy yesterday, 331mm in a matter of few hours! In 2005, the rainfall was 911 mm in 24 hours. If the rain had not stopped yesterday…

Today morning looking at the TV news, I saw an impassioned journalist pointing at thousands of Mumbaikars walking on the train tracks, near Sion Station in Mumbai. He kept saying, have we learnt nothing from 2005? What does the BMC do with its 37 thousand crore budget?

This got me thinking. I am an engineer and a masters in psychology. So here is my take.

Let me start with a story, In Sep 1991, a devastating typhoon/cyclone hit Tokyo. 30000 homes were destroyed and 52 people died. So the Japanese started thinking. They started building the world’s largest storm drainage system. The drainage system took 13 years to build: 1993–2006, at the cost of 2.6 billion USD! (Tokyo’s Drainage System)

Spurting out rage is not the objective of my blog here. It is the bloody numbers. It has been repeatedly said that the BMC does not use its money. (Details of BMC Budget | BMC does not know how to spend money)

So where does it go? The answer to this I don’t know. But after about an hour’s research into the entire matter this is what I found:

  1. The BMC spends around 25–30% of its annual budget on Capital Expenditure on infrastructure development. This is the expenditure which is supposed to make the storm drainage system.
  2. I took that number as 25% and found out that Rs 69,302 crore (conservatively) was earmarked for infrastructure development over the past 13 yearly budgets.
  3. Now let’s say 25% of the Capital Expenditure is to be spent on storm drainage. Then we had Rs 17,325.5 crore available over 13 years only for storm drainage
  4. Less than half of all Capital Expenditure budget has been spent in the last 13 years; even then Rs 8,600 crore should have been spent on storm drainage.

I have a solution!

Now Tokyo and Mumbai are very different cities but here are some numbers (Source — wikipedia):

Both cities are prone to flooding — Tokyo due to high rainfall and typhoons and Mumbai due to very high rainfall and bad drainage systems.

Just now we established, conservatively I must say, that BMC was to spend Rs 17,325.5 crore for drainage systems over 13 years and has probably spent Rs 8,600 crore on storm drainage. With Rs 8,600 crore, we could have easily covered the cost of building a system like that. Japan started in the 90s, when the technology available was older and slower and then it took 13 years to build. If we started in 2005, when Japan was about to finish the project, we could have used their know how and latest technology and still be ready with the system before yesterday’s mishap.

The last point is extremely important because we can not compare the ground realities of Tokyo and Mumbai. So planning, getting technology, getting regulations passed and approvals and then actually building the project would not have taken more than a decade.

So then what is the problem?

So unless the people wake up and demand for what they need, there will be more deaths and more floods.

But then, I am a realist as well.

I know there are smart people in our administration and I know they do not budge to people’s demands (that pot-hole song about Mumbai comes to mind with such a prompt response from BMC).

The only answer is Political Will. Demonetisation happened right? Things can happen, I just hope they start happening soon.

Chennai Floods 2015

In 2015, my brother was working in Chennai and he got stuck in the floods. My parents and I wanted him to move out of Chennai to some place safe. He moved to Hyderabad and now to Mumbai.

I want my brother to leave Mumbai and move to Delhi or Chandigarh or some place safe! Oh I just remembered, Chandigarh was flooded a few days back, and Gujarat and Assam and Bihar!

Assam Floods 2017
Gujarat Floods 2017
Bihar Floods 2017
Chandigarh Floods 2017

WTF Government of India




Action Group Against Plastic Pollution is an initiative of concerned citizens against the Use of plastic. Join us to save the earth.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Saurabh Nanda

Sustainability, Global Citizenship, Youth Empowerment… Career Consulting