Offices report thin attendance

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Monsoon woes

The main

runway in the Mumbai airport was closed for two hours form 2 pm to 4 pm on Wednesday for repairs.

Banks, corporate

offices of several companies in Bandra-Kurla complexes as well as south Mumbai reported thin attendance, for the second day today.

Mumbai, July 5

Incessant rains for the past three days have put the financial capital of the country out of gear.

Local train services, the main mode of transport in the city, were disrupted making it impossible for commuters to reach office on time.

The main runway in the Mumbai airport was closed for two hours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday for repairs. This caused further delay and cancellation of flight services.

Banks, corporate offices of several companies in Bandra-Kurla complexes as well as south Mumbai reported thin attendance, for the second day today.

Officials, however, said the situation today was better compared to Tuesday when most offices closed in the afternoon.

Civic authorities have advised people to stay at home and undertake only "essential journeys".

Cargo handling hit

Cargo handling operations at Mumbai port has been badly affected. According to port officials, the average daily volume of cargo handled in the last three days has come down to 5,000 tonnes as against the normal volume of 25,000-30,000 tonnes. Mumbai port mainly handles bulk cargo such as sugar, pulses and iron and steel.

However, the situation at the Jawaharlal Nehru port, which only handles containerised cargo, was much better. An official said there was only a marginal drop in the volume of containers handled at the port.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Dr D.K. Shankaran, Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, said that the situation in the rain-hit city had improved considerably. The western railway service was almost normal today. However, the Harbour and Central line service still remained affected.

As a contingency measure, he said 110 additional buses were deployed to help stranded passengers at various points.

When pointed by the media about the recurrent flooding in the city, especially in the low-lying areas and the inability of the State Government to address the issue, Dr Shankaran said the carrying capacity of the city's storm water drain was limited and had not kept pace with the development of the city. The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System Report or the Brimstowad Report, which suggests for complete overhaul of the drain system, has been accepted in principle by the Union Government and would be implemented soon, he said.

When questioned about the time required for project implementation, Dr Shankaran was noncommittal. He only said that the first phase of the project would cost Rs 600 crore.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 6, 2006)
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