The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rains maroon maimed Mumbai

Mumbai, July 26: Landslides and swirling flood waters claimed more than 50 lives while dozens were feared trapped under collapsed homes as heavy rain lashed parts of Maharashtra, grounding flights and disrupting road and rail traffic.

In Mumbai, life ground to a halt as the steady downpour flooded major parts of the city. Residents waded through knee-deep water in Dadar, Sion, Andheri, Malad, Bombay Central and Santacruz.

Even the Met office held out no hope. It forecast heavy rain for another 48 hours.

All three suburban train services linking Mumbai were stopped in the evening after the tracks went under water. Some outgoing long-distance trains were cancelled and several in-coming ones detained.

Mumbai cancelled all domestic and international flights as the runway remained flooded since afternoon.

“No flight has operated since 2.15 pm and incoming flights have been diverted to other airports, including Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chennai,” an airport official said.

In Calcutta, airport authorities cancelled eight flights of Jet Airways, Air Sahara and Indian Airlines to Mumbai. “All the airlines did give the green signal for their flights to Mumbai to operate in the morning, but the situation deteriorated and from 1.50 pm onwards, all flights to Mumbai stood cancelled,” said a spokesman for the Airlines Operators’ Committee.

In Mumbai, mobile phone networks were also hit and most lines were jammed.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway this evening as a landslide blocked the first tunnel on the outskirts of Mumbai. “Authorities told us there is 8-ft water on the road at Panvel. We have to wait for a few hours for the water to clear even if the landslide is cleared by then,” said Samir Panda, a stranded motorist.

At least 100 people are feared to have died in landslides triggered by rain in a village in Raigad district this morning when 25 to 30 houses were razed by boulders, superintendent of police Rajkumar Vhatkar said.

Thirty-four people were killed in a landslide in Kondiwate, while eight died in Roha and three in Poladpur. In Mahad, three persons were drowned when floodwater washed away their car.

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