Monsoon is expected to arrive in Mumbai around June 11 and, like every year, government agencies and civic authorities in India’s financial capital are busy wrapping up pre-season preparations and setting up control rooms. The average Mumbaikar is hoping the local trains don’t come to a standstill.
In 2021, flooding due to heavy rains had crippled Mumbai’s lifeline for seven days, with Sion and Parel being the weak spots in Central Railways and Matunga Road, Charni Road and Grant Road in Western Railways.
This year, however, Railways has claimed there would be no repeat of the 2021 nightmare because of micro-tunnelling work undertaken and pumps installed.
Micro-tunnelling involves the construction of mini-drains 2-3 metres below the tracks. The mini drains are connected to storm water drains which then pump out the water from rail tracks, thereby preventing excess waterlogging during heavy rain. Micro-tunnelling has been undertaken along Diva-Kalwa, Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg and Sion-Kurla stations among others on the Central line, along with those on the Western line.
“Micro-tunnelling has been proved to be a breakthrough when it comes to Mumbai’s monsoon woes. This process was started during the pandemic, which is why we saw the results last year with zero flooding days. This year as well, we are hoping that commuters won’t face too much trouble, and if there is water-logging, it will ease out faster. This concept is quite important in low-lying areas such as Sion where the level of the tracks is lower,” said Shivraj Manaspure, CPRO, Central Railways.
Apart from micro-tunnelling, more pumps have been installed and desilting of drains has been carried out along with trimming of trees, muck removal and lifting of tracks. A 24×7 control room has also been set up by the Railways among other measures to ensure the Maximum City doesn’t lose pace.
As per figures provided by the Central Railways, 166 pumps have been provided at 24 locations, including Masjid, Mazgaon Yard, Byculla, Chinchpokli, Currey Road, Parel and Dadar.
Micro-tunnelling has been done at eight locations on the main line, and de-silting and cleaning has been carried out on 118.48 km of drains on suburban section.