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'Stop blaming the rains'

August 02, 2005 13:23 IST
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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? Tell us!. The first lot of responses are published below almost verbatim:

Music conductor Zubin Mehta in one of his interview rightly pointed out Mumbai as a city of 'architectural anarchism.' The Chalta Hai attitude of some town planners for a few thousand rupees under the table and undue approval of construction and plans sought by real estate owners and landlords has led to this entire trouble. Please stop blaming the rains.

If 900 people died 899 of them died only due to the poor state of the city and its rat house dwelling plans. They were killed by the corruption, unmindful and irresponsible attitude of few government servants and parties that work on public services.

The crux of the problem thus lies in the attitude of people who implement such public services directly and indirectly. There is nothing wrong in becoming rich as along as it doesn't affect other individual or bereft benefits of ordinary civilians. Corruption has to be dealt with an iron hand, Red-Tapeism has to be polished with procedures well laid and key sectors becoming IT Enabled and transparency in areas of public services had to be made mandatory.

It is good to see India's GDP growing and businesses and share markets flourishing but same time it is pathetic to see that no parallel developmental programs on ground for the civil society happening leave alone the grandeur plans of Golden quadrilateral and airport modernization which are to allure businesses and ease their logistics.

It is time that our Government concentrates and turns its head on to proper implementation of basic services and shapes the infrastructure of cities and towns. It has to wake up for a grand facelift in terms of proper roads and well built planned structures.

India is now at the ambit of becoming a developed nation and she sure have to get that personality to walk tall amidst every nation.

--Ahamarshan J N
Oxford University

Probably Mumbai, Raigad district and Pune should be combined into one big city. Some kind of decentralization should be done to avoid such big loss in the future.

Nowadays transportation is quite fast due to express highway (these can be increased/improved)to achieve goal of big city.

--Amol Pradhan

First things first, get the Army in, and clear up all the mess.

The BMC is just not able to cope, it does not have the resources, the manpower or the training in logistics to get this done quickly.

-- Regina_D'Costa

I have been follwing the news of the recent cloudburst in Mumbai. As one of the saddened Indians living in US, I pray for the Mumbaikars for the speedy recovery of the city to normalcy.

I generally hate giving ideas to the government or for that matter giving advise to someone in distress by sitting in a comfortable location.

So, without any reference to any of the tragedies in India (like Gujarat earthquake, tsunami tragedy, or the recent cloud bursts), I feel it is utmost priority of the governing authority to take care of the people that they govern. I have often seen hearing, 'don't think what country has done for you; think what you have done to the country'. But, it becomes totally nonsensical for the people who cannot even save their life to think about doing anything good to the country.

We are confusing country with the incapable people who sit at the prestigious seat and represent the country.

If the government proves incapable of handling unforeseen situations, how can it think that the poor people can handle such situations?

The government cautions its citizens not to take laws in their own hands in cases of violence and says justice would be taken by the government on the people who meted the crime (say, the people who are involved in burglary, smuggling, crime against women, etc.). When it can give such assurance to its citizens that it would handle such law and order situations (ofcourse, it is just the assurance, and I did not say it is executing on it 100%), why it expects its fellow citizens to get into the bravery act whenever disaster hits our country. Why not it take care of its citizens by itself? Why our Constitution is so imbalanced? Can our government handle only menial situations and cannot handle mamooth disasters like this?

We can be a developed country only when:

  • our government appreciates value of each and every loss of life.
  • any of these natural disasters pass by us with less-to-nil human loss (I am not going to worry about financial loss as this is anyway indirectly related to other losses.
  • we realize the harsh reality - that we are still a developing country.

    It is very hard to make our huge set of today's politicians to realize the importance of any of the factors I pointed out above. I feel the learned people in our government should consider revolutionary ideas in bringing our country to the level that others would respect. Some of my random thoughts:

  • Instill fear to the people in governance that they are the servant to the people and not the boss to the people.
  • They should_not live in lavish bungalows. If you are a servant to the people, you are a middle-class person. You should be living in a menial house, and you should be travelling in a bus, or at most a two-wheeler on your own. Basically, my intention here is have them realize what a common man is going through. That would tell the government what each and every citizen is going through in his/her day-to-day life. If this standard-of-living is not likeable to any person, he is not qualified to be a person who can serve the people.
  • With the help of British rule, in spite of different tactics it had adopted to rule the country, let us not forget the amount of infrastructures they have left us with. But still Mahatma, Nehru and the likes fought against them to make us a independent country. But today, I would not say that our country is independent just because all the heads in decision-making are Indians. As long as the decision-making people are not worried about the last citizen in the country, these people don't have any rights to sit at the top and our country needs to get independent from those people still. That is our utmost independence. So, we should start thinking about another Quit India Movement (including me) against these greeds at the top.

    Only when India is represented by selfless Indians, the sayings like "don't think what country has done for you..." make sense. Until then, any such deeds by a fellow citizen is like us doing a favor to these greedy politicians.

    When I say politician, I never mean to defame all the people at the top. There are ofcourse a few people who are selfless and tries to bring India to the top against all odds. But, these kind of people are very few and often their hands are getting tied because of coalition forces.

    We need a Mahatma in this modern era who can persevere through all the hardships. Today's typical Indians' anger/memory is shortlived and the politicians take advantages of these facts. To win this battle, we need a Gandhi, a Nehru, a Netaji, overall - a freedom struggle of modern era against these ruthless, careless politicians of India. Until then, IMO, I feel - British era would have been better than the current Indian political scene..

    --Ramesh Jagannathan

    In this hour of tragedy, mumbaikars showed solidarity by helping each other. But when everything calms down, we should share a moment and think whether this so called "spirit of mumbaikars" is becoming our weakness.

    Unless the people make noise, the government will not wake up and act on it.

    The government has got used to this spirit, so they know very well that even if they dont do anything and just sit quiet, it works.

    When any tragedy strikes, the people show the spirit and dont make any fuss about it. I am currently located in US and has lived in mumbai for many years, here i see that people actively participate and get the things done from their governing bodies. The issue may be as small as passing a new traffic rule.

    --Rajeev Gogate

    It took only one full day and whole of the Mumbai and, I would rather say, India, understood that there is nothing bigger and devastating then nature's fury, its anger. People by now must have realized that they can not and should not take every thing for granted i.e. weather reports, changing climatic condition and civic sense etc.

    people should be more careful about exploiting their surroundings like open spaces, trees, drains etc. And they should take any step to make sure that no one is playing with these resources like builders and power-that-be. people do not realize that they have contributed to this horrible situation. I have seen people throwing plastic bags, garbage, furniture and eatables either in to water or in to open spaces. and since this is happening since ages, situation has aggravated. In normal scenario, no one has thought, that there will be one fine day when things will become so messy. After all, little things or carelessness leads to calamities, this has been proved this time.

    Every individual should be accountable for what is happening right now in Mumbai, not only govt, which any way is useless and unprofessional. people should ask to their local cooperator, MLA and MP about their whereabouts since last 4 days. We have every right to ask that. We need to ask these people as how they spent our hard earned money which I paid through taxes?

    Why we suffered when we make Mumbai as the highest revenue generating City in India? Where is that money being drained off? Who is the culprit? Every year there are couple of days during rainy reason when Mumbai is totally cut off and every year BMC claims that this year or next year this won't happen. Who is the person we should get hold off if this repeat next year?

    Lets make a promise to our City that, yes, we do care about you and yes, there will not be any mistake from our parts in future. Lets our kids also realize importance of civic sense and lets them also be part of this movement.

    --Rajesh Jain

    Instead of spending Millions of Dollars in fixing the issue, the Government should be proactive.

    Now they are spending more than 500 crore in bringing this great city back to shape.

    Instead, Cant we ask/force/convince the Government to be PROACTIVE instead of being REACTIVE to such situations?

    cant they install state-of-the-Art systems for weather forecast and disaster recovery measures by spending half the amount?

    Lakhs of people in this financial capital of india has spent so much of valuable time and money in this disaster, which I believe could have been averted.

    or atleast the impact could have been less!!

    Shailesh Pednekar

    I think we really need to demarket mumbai for next few years and this calamity will defiantely help the cause.

    I really do not find Mumbai being State capital of maharahtra. It can be shifted to some city like aurangabad which is at the middle of maharashtra. It will reduce the 20-25% load from mumbai as most of political establishment is in south mumbai which means 20-25 % of tarffic which comes to mumbai and goes out is not at all related to mumbai.

    Secondly Mumbai can go for a over bridge train service which is at present operating in Chennai.It will solve the problem of railways.

    On a lighter side Maharashtra Govt can appoint two cabinet ministers
    1. Minister of UP
    2. Minister of Bihar

    both of them will look after employment and infrastructure issues in respective states. It will help to reduce the inflow to mumbai.

    The cause of mumbai problem lies in non developement of rest of India. and not in Mumbai Adminstartion in mumbai is one of the best in the world.

    Cause is not Vilasrao or Mayor of Mumbai but it is Laloo and Mulayam.

    --Nitin Shukla

    There should be an efficient radio service in every district in INDIA from where people can get the correct information from the government authorities. In case of any natural calamity or bad weather prediction, an announcement should be made in all FM channels like Radio City, Go FM etc. informing people to tune to the government station to get some important information. Radio stations not making the mandatory announcement should be made to pay a hefty price so that they never make the mistake again.

    All fire-stations, police stations, and their vehicles should have an efficient radio connectivity and they should not depend on cell-phone network, since cell-phone networks are clogged during these cases and adopting radio could be a boon to cell-phone operators. Networks will be less clogged as people will tune into the government radio station to get the correct information rather than believing in rumours.

    I think such small steps can reduce casualty levels


    The government needs to govern. If all govt servants do their jobs (even half of their assigned jobs as there are so many of them), India would be in great shape.

    The government needs to be able to fire non performing employees. (getting rid of a few will improve efficiency and motivate the remaining employees to work for a living).

    Plans need to be implemented. I have no doubt the city of Bombay had a disaster management plan. However it never went into effect on July 26th. We need to find out why and ensure that in future this is not repeated.

    Bombayites need to get and stay angry. if each bombayite "gheraos" thier corporator and let's him or her know that re-election depends on BMC reform, implementation and execution and then vote accordingly, we will be in better shape in the future.

    --Anish Mehta

    Mumbai's infrastructure is inadequate for its growing population. Further, being an island, there is no room for growth. In the long term, it will be best to let further take place on the mainland side of Thane creek i e Navi Mumbai. Better connectiviy can be provided between the mainland and the city by building more bridges across the Thane creek.

    --Ali H Mahadik

    I am surprised that since Tuesday, Govt machinery is unable to manage this disaster at all.

    Govt could have easily asked Navy and all those boat operators to run ferry service to the suburbs wherever there is a jetty. People could have been ferried from Gateway of India to Vashi, Malad and several other places to suburbs by motorised boats and launches.

    Mind you all 300+ workers at ONGC platform were rescued by the rescue team and it happened during same time, so an excuse of choppy sea does not arise at all.

    Application of mind and putting it to work is ZERO...

    --Sumantra Chatterji

    I am appalled at the situation in Mumbai. I think it is about time the Citizens wake up and take control of their city back. I think Mumbai needs to become separate state by itself. It must be run by someone who understands the local issues. I grew up in Mumbai and now live in USA.

    Only when Mumbai will become autonomous, all voters will ask their politicians, what did they do for the city? Being part of Maharastra, does not serve both Mumbai and other parts of Maharastra. Let them be separate and free to grow.

    --Shailesh Gala

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