Rivers breach banks
Several rivers that run through the Mumbai Metropolitan Region have breached their banks due to extreme heavy rains. Areas in and around Kalyan, Badlapur, Ambernath, Ulhasnagar, and Bhiwandi are majorly flooded with immense risk to daily life and people. Around 5000 people from these areas were evacuated to safety sites in schools and community halls. Jagbudi and Kodvali rivers in Ratnagiri also crossed their assigned danger marks which led to heavy flooding of the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Low-lying areas like Vasai, Virar, and Nalasopara were ill-equipped to deal with subsequent waterlogging. Fire officials moved residents in informal housing of these areas to undisclosed safe places. Vashishiti river’s increased water levels also suspended train services between Kamathe and Ratnagiri.
Read more: Explainer: why does Mumbai flood?
Mumbai’s poor see their lives turned upside down
Nineteen people died in a slum in Mahul after a landslide on the hill adjoining BARC complex was followed by a midnight flash flood. The disasters collapsed the protective wall at three different points, and destroyed 50 hutments. Residents claim that almost 200 families have been affected by the torrential downpour worsened by inadequate city infrastructure. Other reports suggest twenty-one people have died if slums in nearby Chembur are also taken into consideration. Ten people lost their lives in Vikhroli. Despite the fact that the wall in Mahul broke down, the Mumbai Slum Improvement Board is channeling funds to construct more walls at landslide prone areas instead of taking concrete measures to alleviate infrastructural inequity in the city.
Railways hit by landslides and waterlogging
Rain triggered landslide in Lonavala’s Ghat section disrupted Mumbai-Pune rail services. Power supply lines were snapped and tracks became unstable as the soil beneath them washed away. On July 22nd, the superfast special train had been cancelled while other trains were short terminated. Konark Express train was terminated on the morning of July 21st. It is not just the Pune route that has been impacted. 34 long-distance trains have been cancelled, 26 diverted, and 34 short terminated. Since July 21st, only stations up to Titwala and Ambernath in Thane saw in-bound trains from Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in South Mumbai. Matheran hill station also reported its second landslide on July 19th.
Sale of homes sees upward trend in Mumbai
July saw a record sale of 6,026 houses in the metropolitan. The demand for 2-3 BHK homes in the city grew 18% this past quarter when compared to the same time period for 2020. Low interest rates and increasing inoculations against COVID-19 are speculated to be the reasons behind growing confidence in the real estate market. This uptick has taken place parallel to a downward trend in the purchase of luxury homes which was thriving in the city given upper stratas faced the least losses due to the pandemic. While the first quarter of 2021 saw transactions for luxury homes in Mumbai reach the Rs. 4000 crore mark, the second quarter will fall short of this by a high margin. Currently, luxury home transactions worth Rs. 900 crore have been closed. It should be noted that 35% of the buyers were those in the real estate sector who will eventually flip the houses for a profit. Almost 86% of the units sold ranged from Rs. 15 to Rs. 30 crores.
NIA opposes Elgar Parishad accused Surendra Gadling’s bail plea
On July 22nd, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has opposed the interim bail sought by lawyer Surendra Gadling to perform rituals on the first death anniversary of his mother and has claimed that the rituals can be performed by any other family members. Gadling’s mother passed away on August 15, 2020, and the next month the Bombay High Court had rejected his plea to attend her final rites. The NIA alleged in its reply that its investigation had shown Gadling to be a member of banned organisation CPI (Maoist). Recent forensic analysis proved that the computer of Advocate Surendra Gadling was hacked into for planting controversial documents prior to his arrest in the Elgar Parishad / Bhima Koregaon case over three years ago. It has also been revealed that Gadling’s wife, Minal Gadling, his associates Nihalsingh Rathod and Jagadish Meshram, and Maruti Kurwatkar, another UAPA accused who Gadling represented have all been targets of government surveillance through the Pegasus spyware.