Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Three days of heavy rain and parts of Bangalore are flooded ! Actually, even after only one day of rain, measuring 12cm in total, parts of Bangalore got flooded. Each time I begin to doubt Bombay, something happens that reassures me that Bombay, imperfect as it is, still remains the best and the most efficient city in India. Somehow, on a regular basis, Bombay copes with rain better than any other city I have seen – half an hour of heavy rain does not bring it to its knees. Contrast the chaos in Bangalore after 12 cm of rain with the way Bombay handles the rain. To those who scoff and talk about the deluge in July, I would like to point out the difference between 12 cm and 90 cm of rain.

(But I digress. Started with another issue in mind, but could not resist the temptation to contrast aamchi Mumbai with other cities.)

There is one similarity between both Bangalore and Bombay. In both cities, the older areas which were built earlier, suffer much less. In Bombay, during the deluge, South Bombay actually received much less rain than the suburbs. I wonder why there would be such a drastically unequal distribution of rain over such a limited area for a period of a few days. Does South Bombay have a lower % of green cover as compared to the suburbs?

Also somehow, the drainage in the older parts of the cities seems to be much better than in the newer parts. In Bangalore, many of the areas which are flooded are those which are unplanned, built on or near lake beds etc. No thought seems to have been given to proper drainage, leading to water retention after heavy rain. On the contrary, the older areas seem to have been built and planned in a much better manner, and those are not flooded at all.

Were the British better engineers and town planners than us ? Or is the difference due to laws and regulations being twisted in the last few years by the builders mafia ?

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