Rains wreak havoc in Mumbai; port activities hit as cranes collapse at JNPT

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As heavy rains continue to batter Mumbai, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Navi Mumbai witnessed three out of its nine ship-to-shore cranes collapse due to strong winds.

“Owing to inclement weather and above normal gusts of wind, there has been damage to three cranes of JNPCT terminal of JN Port. However, there have been no injuries and everyone is safe. Exact damage is being ascertained,” JNPT stated on Twitter. The tweet was however taken down later.

The cranes were said to be worth around INR 110 crore. The operations at the port were somewhat affected and one cargo vessel at Mumbai Port Trust started drifting away and was pulled by tug. 

But the damage to the ports turned out to be minimal, as informed by a senior traffic division officer at JNPT.

“Thankfully, the cranes have not collapsed on the front side. So, we are expecting the damage to be minimal. However, we will be able to access the damage only once we go to the site for survey. Currently, the winds are so strong and visibility being low, we cannot go to the site immediately”, he had said yesterday.

Since there was no vessel at the berth, none of the cranes were in operation, thus avoiding operational disruptions that could have occurred at the port.

However, the official said that the other six cranes are functioning and they cannot ascertain how long it will take for the three cranes to resume operations.

A container crane (also known as ship-to-shore crane) is used at container terminals for loading and unloading intermodal containers from container ships.

There were no casualties reported at JNPT port as operations were shut due to bad weather.

All the three cranes that collapsed were of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal (JNPCT), which is the port’s own terminal.

Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT-DP World), Gateway Terminals India (GTI-APM Terminals) and Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal (BMCT)-Fourth Container Terminal are the other three terminals at the container port.

Insouciance of authorities

The Mumbai rains have been an annual affair for the city but the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has blamed Metro-3 work for its insouciance towards the people’s woes, with several areas in south Mumbai being waterlogged completely.

The BMC claimed that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) had failed to take precautions specified in a June 29 letter.

In the letter written to the MMRCL, the BMC has stated that MMRCL’s anti-waterlogging measures have been inadequate. The letter also observed that a sedimentation tank was not installed at any of the Metro stations, and slurry water was directly being discharged into the ward’s storm water drainage system, without BMC’s permission.

“Every year this is the same scenario in Mumbai and this is nothing new that Mumbai has seen, even for this year” says Mr Chirag Katira, President, Shree Nasik Goods Transport (SNGT)  and Project Head for COVID-19 at All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).

However, Mr Katira feels that waterlogging issue that has escalated this year, is to be attributed to the ongoing construction work at Bandra-Worli sealink and Metro work activities.

“The metro and the sea link construction work could be the reason for the waterlogging this year. The construction work at the Metro has also led to clogging of drains, thereby aggravating the problem of waterlogging”, he shared.

“The water level was so high, it was almost 4-4.5 feet” shared Mr Katira as he waded through flood waters in an inundated Mumbai late evening. He also described how vehicles and objects could be seen floating on the water that had shown no signs of receding in a flooded city.

It is believed that indiscriminate commercialisation and urbanisation are the two key factors that explain the frequent flooding of Mumbai and add to the woes of the people as a rainfall-prone state.

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