Mumbai, hailed as the Maximum City, was hit with a power failure on Monday morning that left thousands of its citizens helpless as many key transport lines came to a standstill. The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) attributed the situation to ‘TATAs incoming electric supply failure’.
Due to the simultaneous substation dripping in Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (MSETLC)’s Kalwa, Khargar, a huge reduction in the frequency at the Mumbai transmission system took place, and as a result, the power supply in Mumbai suffered.
While the power cut brought Mumbai to a standstill, there are several woes that Mumbaikars have to combat on a daily basis. From potholes to waterlogged roads, stunted water supply to traffic jams, people living in Mumbai have been the victims of civic issues for years.
Potholes from hell
A major civic issue that Mumbai battles, is the pothole-riddled roads of the city. Repeatedly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been blamed for the insincere patchwork of the roads intended to beautify the roads instead of concrete construction.
As per the data provided by the BMC in 2019, 7,775 potholes were reported by citizens from 2009 to 2014 and the number rose to 19,597 from 2014 to 2019. A rise in the number of potholes was recorded from the year 2016 and a total number of 15,760 potholes were reported by citizens from 2016-2019.
At the time, a BMC official attributed the increasing number of potholes being reported to ‘rising awareness among the citizens’. In the past, several instances have proved that potholes can lead to fatal accidents and can also affect traffic movement in the city.
Growing population, standstill traffic
As per the estimates published in 2008, Mumbai is the world’s seventh-most populated city. Every day, commuters can be seen fighting a battle to reach their offices and homes. Due to the large population that inhabits the city, the traffic movement is affected and the same results in traffic snarls.
In January this year, a report released by a global location technology specialist revealed that drivers in Mumbai spent 65 per cent more time in their vehicles in 2019. As per the report published by TomTom Traffic Index, Mumbai witnessed its worst traffic jam of the year 2019 on September 9.
Water, sanitation woes
Another issue that Mumbai fights a battle against is the water supply and the growing concern about lack of groundwater. It is to be noted that the Deccan Trap in Maharashtra makes up almost 82 per cent of the land in the state. This in turn translates to the fact that there is almost no groundwater potential in Maharashtra, or it is highly limited and restricted by the nature of the underground aquifer system.
Moreover, Mumbai does not treat 60 per cent wastewater and a large part of the population still defecates in the open. The urban areas of the city suffer due to lack of sanitation and both the issues can be tackled through the treatment of wastewater and through proper disposal of waste.
Many of the densely populated areas of Mumbai like Dharavi are often flooded with drain water spilling out on the streets during monsoon season, giving rise to a number of diseases.
It must be noted that these issues are only the tip of the iceberg. Poorly constructed roads, buildings and the indifference of negligent authorities are among other issues that have been stunting the growth of Mumbai while adding to the woes of the citizens.
The overbridge collapse near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in 2019 had made headlines and a slew of audits were carried out and promises made. Cut to the last quarter of 2020 and still, one can come across cracks on many of the bridges around the city, some of which have been closed to the public owing to the sheer danger they pose to the locals.
Potential for much more
A number of issues notwithstanding, the metro city of Mumbai is known of its spirit and doggedness to get the job done. It is the financial capital of India and deserves a world-class infrastructure for it houses some of the most influential industrial and economic powerhouses of the country. The turning ‘Mumbai into Shanghai’ has been often discussed and if the resources are channelled with the approach of getting time-based results, the same can come true in the coming decade.
Mumbai has often been touted as a safe city for women and is famous for its vibrant nightlife. The fact that millions have made fortunes here due to the positive environment it provides for the ones who are willing to go the extra mile.
It must be noted that the sudden tripping of the electricity grid may be a one-off incident and such blackouts have hit many global capitals. However, the goal of the authorities, as well as the citizens, should be to build a Mumbai that boasts of world-class infrastructure that in itself sets a precedent for the planet’s megacities.