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25 dead in Mumbai: CM

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 27, 2005 14:56 IST
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"The situation in Mumbai is grave. We are waiting for the rain to stop," Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told in a telephone conversation.

He confirmed that between 25 to 30 people have died in the last 24 hours due to heavy rains in Mumbai city alone.

However, the television channel Aaj Tak claimed that 37 people died in the rains in Mumbai. 

Deshmukh, who spent a sleepless night, assured citizens that his administration is doing whatever it can but since most roads are not yet clear due to water-logging, reaching out to victims is proving difficult.

He said the administration has opened a control room and the police is doing its best to help people.

"We have asked for the Indian Navy's help," the chief minister said. "Naval crews have arrived with boats and that will help marooned people in low lying colonies."

Deshmukh lauded the sprit of Mumbaikars. "Mumbaikars are always ready to help each other and they have shown their community sprit once again in spite of the chaotic situation."

Asked why his administration was not prepared to withstand Tuesday's torrential rain, Deshmukh said, "In the last 24 hours we have recived 40 inches -- 944 millimetres of rain. You should count this fact also. Who could have thought of or planned for such heavy rain? Any kind of planning would have fallen short in view of yesterday's rainfall."

"When you plan the pipelines for drainage of rain water," he added, "there is always a benchmark. No engineers could have planned to drain out this volume of water in less than 24 hours. All planning would have fallen short in such rain."

"Please understand this is a natural calamity," he said. "Who would have expected such rain?"

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi