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Buffalo carcass causes Kalina flooding

By Ashley D'Souza in Kalina
Last updated on: August 01, 2005 21:28 IST
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Kalina in northwest Mumbai -- one of the worst hit areas in last week's torrential rain and its aftermath -- is once again reeling under the onslaught of the rains that have lashed the city since July 31.

The road leading to the Air-India Colony, where employees of the national airline live, is in knee-deep water and has been cordoned off with ropes by the Mumbai police.

Within the coloniesĀ -- one belonging to Air-India and two belonging to Indian Airlines -- the situation is grim with water rising upto four to five feet and more. The entrance to many of the buildings have been blocked by the rising water.

A Mumbai fire brigade team was at the police barricade, as were BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation workers with emergency equipment.

Kalina gets waterlogged every monsoon. The present crisis, however, has been caused by buffalo carcasses blocking the drainage facility at the Indian Airlines colony. The non-stop rains since yesterday has only aggravated matters.

BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Johnny Joseph said the carcasses could be removed only after the water level reduced, which is expected to happen by tomorrow morning. He also said power would be restored and garbage cleared when the water receded.

Many ground floor residents in the three colonies were trapped in their homes by the rising water; 70 of them have now been rescued by the Army.

The Army's 107 AAD regiment arrived at around 4 pm with two Army trucks and a large boat. The Navy has also joined the rescue operations.

Late in the evening, six jawans loaded the boat with milk sachets and ferried it to the colonies. They have also ferried food and water to the beleaguered residents. They were accompanied by divers in a Navy boat. Many Kalina residents also helped in the rescue operations.

Two ambulances -- loaded with medicines and doctors -- from the Asian Heart Institute has also arrived. One of them later departed with a senior citizen who was rescued by the Army.

A motorised boat was on standby to assist the rescue mission, to evacuate residents trapped by the rising water.

Meanwhile, a senior citizen, who was rescued from the Indian Airlines colony (which is further down the road) in a raft created by lashing four tyres and a few pieces of wood, said the water in the IA colony is at chest high level.

The homes on the ground floor have been flooded, he said, and residents, who have moved into their neighbours' homes, are refusing to move out.

Residents of Daulatnagar, Santa Cruz (West), also in northwest Mumbai, have arrived at the barricade in a tempo loaded with biscuits, water and medicines.

Earlier in the day, upset slum dwellers who live adjacent to the Air-India colony gheraoed the police. They were angry because they felt the police were more concerned with the people living in the three colonies and were not looking at the slum dwellers, many of whom had lost their homes.

Some of the slum dwellers from Kalina village -- especially the elderly and children -- have sheltered in Kalina church and St Mary's Junior College Hall. In the evening, volunteers managed to serve them with batata vadas and milk.

A large crowd of anxious relatives and curious onlookers have gathered at the police barricade; the police, however, refused to comment on the situation.

The Army, meanwhile, has moved out as many of the residents have refused to leave their homes.

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Ashley D'Souza in Kalina