By Arré Bench Jun. 25, 2018
“Like God, we have to let things run their course before we can intervene,” said a civic body official after Monday’s downpour in Mumbai.
Mumbai, June 25: After the usual annual weekend of continuous rainfall, parts of the city have been plagued with heavy traffic, flooding, and even fatalities. From SoBo to the suburbs, few have been spared the carnage of the monsoon. Train lines are experiencing heavy delays. In Wadala, a building compound wall collapsed this morning, causing at least 20 cars to be buried in the ensuing debris – perhaps a kinder fate than forcing them to drive through Mumbai’s canals.
Members of the BMC’s disaster management cell, just a few streets away from the site of the disaster, were enjoying a leisurely cup of chai from their favourite vendor, and sauntered casually toward the grim scene. A senior disaster management official on site was optimistic. “At this rate, we’ll be ready to actually deal with the rains – within reason – by 2063. The BMC is well on its way to achieving the bare minimum level of competency. Then, we’ll only have to worry about Mumbaikars dying from the shock.” He laughed heartily, before helping himself to the reporter’s bag of Melody.
“Our job is disaster management, not disaster prevention,” pointed out a surly, moustachioed officer. “Like God, we have to let things run their course before we can intervene.” He explained that only when there is a greater quantity of road in the city’s drainpipes than on the actual streets is the BMC allowed to classify a situation as a disaster.
And even then, there are exceptions: “See, we had received many complaints about a big pothole in Andheri East. But we did nothing, and now, children and the local strays are using it as a community swimming pool, thanks to the BMC’s revolutionary laissez-faire approach. We try our best to preserve Mumbai’s famous enterprising spirit.”
Members of the BMC’s disaster management cell, just a few streets away from the site of the disaster, were enjoying a leisurely cup of chai from their favourite vendor, and sauntered casually toward the grim scene.
He’s not the only one who proudly considers negligence to be a vital part of the BMC ethos. “If it weren’t for the lack of planning and constant crises during the rains, we would lose our sense of purpose,” confided another disaster management officer, as a fireman behind him desperately clawed a woman out of the rubble. “This time, there was not even one casualty – isn’t that cause for celebration?”
It was indeed, and this took the form of a brief pooja to Lalu Prasad Yadav, whom the BMC officers consider a hero among useless civil servants. Then, having not had a drop in the past half-hour, they eagerly broke for chai again.