An Open letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

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tree falling

Dear BMC,

Let me start by addressing the office of the BMC rather than the political party that is currently operating this office, because 25 years of being a citizen of this incredible city has taught me to keep my expectations unchanged, even as governments change.

As global warming strengthens storms worldwide, it is hard to prepare for floods and rainstorms in Mumbai with little information, vague notifications and even fewer resources. Even though the rainstorms are our yearly visitors, it seems as if with each passing year the floods get deeper and there are fewer ways to make it back home.

I know it’s not my place to question the allotment of resources, but I would imagine in a city as populous as Mumbai, enough people are paying at least a portion of their taxes to develop a flood management program. Provide some type of transportation that can withstand a few feet of water so we aren’t stranded in our offices, or create a drainage system that can prevent water logging so that taxis and buses we do have don’t have to be suspended. The passing of Dr. Deepak Amarapurkar made even the most cynical citizens shudder, and I am sure many members of the BMC share the pain of his passing as well. No one should have to die in a manhole, and no matter how deep-rooted the problem, maybe now is the time to find a solution that not only punishes the wrongdoers in this case, but also prevents any potential wrongdoers from repeating this in the future.

As people, Mumbaikars are notoriously fickle minded, and we have to be because otherwise, it would be hard to wake up in the morning and head to work.

I live on a tree-lined street of a suburban neighborhood and have spent enough time of each day dodging garbage and dog feces to know that citizens are equally vital in pulling their weight if they want to see positive change. It’s unfair for us to expect the government and its functionaries to create change if we cant help in seeing it through.

Each day I see garbage trucks on my street like clockwork and diligent sanitation workers in flip-flops and inadequate uniforms picking up the unsegregated waste of all the buildings on the street. Perhaps if it were mandatory to recycle, it would make waste management easier? Would that help better our drainage system as well?

A dying tree that should have been taken down fell over in the storm last night, and it took down power lines, lampposts, and surveillance equipment with it. It even crushed four cars and damaged the street. We were fortunate enough to avoid casualties, but it reminded us not to take our one-way street for granted. The group of firefighters that worked into the night tirelessly were not even equipped with enough lighting to work in the downpour and had to spend more time and effort taking the debris out of the street to make life easier for us. I am not sure if the fire department is the subset of the BMC, but if they are I hope they can have the access to resources they deserve. I know I speak for all residents of my street when I say we are grateful for their service.

Tree falling

I never thought I’d find myself writing an open letter because I am not famous, but I don’t think I need to be famous to request that no more people are left to die in a manhole or crushed under the weight of a dying tree, especially since both those situations are avoidable.

Gratefully,

Alisha Rajpal

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