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Floods >> Extent of Disaster >> Stories of Courage
  Mumbai Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Resource Centre 
in association with Times Foundation

BMC Disaster Control: Phone: 1916 or 108 or 22694725 / 7 or Fax 22694719. Online complaints via
Times Helpline: 56354376 / 45
Karmayog Helpline: 98201-55591 (Upadhyay) 

Our doctors, during the floods, did not leave the hospital and its inmates unattended for a single second inspite of the fact that their homes were 
terribly affected by floods. They have been treating animals round the clock during the floods ( though we did not advertise it fearing we would not be
able to handle more if more animals were brought in). They were truly the unsung heroes, managing so many critically sick animals without water and
electricity supply for those 3 fateful days.Although we were lucky that not an inch of waterlogging was there in our hospital premises. 

Just for your info, Thane SPCA admits all emergency cases and normal cases subject to availability of cages and space.  

Shakuntala Majumdar
Thane SPCA
Tel.: office- 9322271966 ( 9.30AM - 6PM) 
Tel:  hospital no. is 56296920 ( 24x7x365) 

Aug 9, 2005
Many trees all over the suburbs and in the rest of the city fell over during the recent deluge. This time, in the wake of so much destruction all around, not much could be done for them. I was part of a tree rescue and have summarised the process below.

At the end of the email, are contact numbers of persons/agencies who can assist in saving/transplanting a tree, should you ever require their services.

Update on Saving the Peepal Tree 

A big thank you to all who helped out with getting the tree back into place. I have attached a bit of background and update on the tree to date. 

Last Sunday ie. 31st July, a large peepal tree fell over in Sai Apts, at Seven Bungalows, in Andheri West. Fortunately, the tree just damaged the compound wall, and did not fall on any car or bike, and was also near the entrance of the building, making any rescue work possible. Its tap root was intact, and only part of the fibrous roots seem to have been wrenched out. A few of the branches were blocking the road, hence the BMC or Police came and did a quick job of cutting of those branches and leaving the rest of the tree as it had fallen. 

Sai Apts. has some history with trees and tree lovers. There is a small but determined group of Society members who actively oppose any tree cutting in the area, including trimming without permission. There is an equally vociferous group of people in the Society who are very keen to cut all trees, and have everything concreted over and space made available for parking, as is the case of much of Mumbai's citizens. In fact, illegal trimming of this same peepal tree in 1992, had landed the then Secretary of Sai Apts. in the police lock-up, as a panchnama was filed against him, for this criminal offense. 

A deadline of one week was given for any rescue attempt to be made for the tree, ie till Sun. 7th Aug., after which the tree would be chopped up. I frantically started calling anybody that I thought could help, and received a whole lot of responses that I have summarized below, for your future references.

Eventually, a gentleman by the name Vinod Mohite from Goregaon West came and saw the tree and said that it could be easily put back into place at reasonable cost. The approximate cost was Rs. 500/hr, and it was estimated that 3-4 hours would be required for the full operation.

At the last minute, ie on Sunday, the whole operation was delayed as we could not get a JCB for the job. As you are aware, today in Mumbai, the JCB is the most wanted vehicle anywhere, and when we finally located a JCB, we couldn't get a driver. Finally today on Monday morning, one JCB and one crane and around 10 helpers, and Mr.Mohite himself arrived and got to work.

In no time the tree was lifted up and hauled into position. The JCB excavated the hole further and then after the tree was placed in position, soil around was compacted. The tree was also temporarily tied on two sides so that it gets support for the initial period. Some trimming of lateral branches was also done, so as to improve the balance of the tree as it stablises itself.

Reason for the tree falling: There was a lot of  water logging in the area around the tree (Sai Apts itself had over 6 feet water during the deluge), and since there was no drainage outlet for this water, the soil loosened the root system and the strong winds assisted in toppling it over.

The total cost of the whole operation was Rs.8000/-, double the estimate, since in the end, we had to really pay to get a JCB that was in such short supply. 

A happy ending and a wonderful feeling that we could do it. Hope this gives you the courage to also undertake tree rescues in the future if required. 



List of Contact Persons:

1. Mr.Aslam, Owner, Modern Farms and Gardens, Chembur – 9892800484 – Ref.: the Friends of Trees Society.
2. Vinod Mohite, Goregaon West – 9322271911
3. Mr.Bedekar, horticulturist – 9322249289.
4.Mr.Narengekar, Head, Parks and Gardens -23742162.
5. Mr.Shringari, Garden Superintendant.
List of nominated members of the tree authority by BMC

Shri Dilip S. Satam
76/55, M.H.B  Colony
Malad (E)
Mumbai- 400097
Tel. No. 2843146

Shri Madhu Sawant
258/ 10172 Avishkar
Kannamwar Nagar No.1
Vikroli (E)
Mumbai 400083
Tel. No. 25780130, 24145614-16

Shri Subhash V. Sampat
Room No. 7 5th floor Bhatia Niwas
20 Mangesh Shenoy Street
Mumbai 400001
Tel. No. 22046633, 22616643

Dr. Dilip G Kudchadkar
63/ A Sunder Sadan
Near Congress House
Proctor Marg
Grant Road (E)
Mumbai 400004
Tel. No. 23880005, 23824826, 23868237
Mobile: 9821127835

Dr. J. C Punetha
World Wild Fund for Nature India
204, D. N Road
National Insurance Building
Opp. Central Camera House
Mumbai 400001
Tel. No. 22078105, 22075142
Fax: 22076037

Dr. Smt. Suchandra R. Datta
C/O Mr. Avinash Kubal, Dy. Director
Maharashtra Nature Society
Maharashtra Nature Park
Near Dharvi Bus Depot.
Mumbai 400017

Shri. Hanumant A. Raje
606 Shantivan 1 B Wing
Raheja Township
Malad (E)
Mumbai 400097
Tel. No. 28775358
Mobile: 9820291698

Shri Sanjay B. Bhavake
Kadvibai Niwas
Near Dr. Kamat Dispensary
Govind Station Road
Govind Village (E)
Mumbai 400088
Tel. No. 25572391

Shri. Sunil B. Narsale
Pruthvi Appartment
Ground Floor
21 Altamount
Mumbai 400026
Tel. No. 23855442, 23896301

Aug 9, 2005

Aug 1, 2005
PAWS - Plant & Animals Welfare Society is doing the Relief Work since past 6 days after the Heavy Floods in Mumbai. 
PAWS Team comprising Ms. Sonali, Mr. Shiv Prasad, Mr. Vishal, and Mr. Nilesh along with Representative of Midlife Foundation & Rakhee Jain Group.
PAWS Provided Fodder & Vegetables to Buffalos affected. PAWS are also on regular rounds to help injured calves & buffaloes. Also helping affected people by providing Food, Water & Clothes, and Medicines.
Enclosed are the Photos of Rescue & Relief works (image 1, images 2, images 3, images 4, images 5
Nilesh Bhanage
Hony. Gen. Secretary & Founder Trustee
(PAWS is Non-Profit, Charitable registered charity which is Affiliated with RSCPA, UK and member Society of WSPA and recognized by Animal Welfare Board)
 A memorable day in life – 26th July 2005 

Badlapur-Ambarnath Nagar Parishad had arranged for a Vruksha Dindi on a massive scale on Tuesday, 26th July 2005, starting at 10.00 a.m. The programme was fixed almost a month ago and I was supposed to attend it as the Chief Guest.

I had not made up my mind until the morning of 26th whether to go by local or by Car as usual. The morning papers arrived with the news of heavy, continued and incessant rainfall in Konkan region and flooding of places like Mahad, Chiplun, etc. The trains were reported to be running irregular. It tilted the decision to go by Car only. However, there was hesitation to go. None of the contact persons from Badlapur were available on phone. To go or not to go? If anybody could be contacted, I had made up my mind to convey ‘regret’ for not being able to reach. However, not being able to communicate with anybody, I did not deem it appropriate to avoid going. After all it was not raining much at Thane. Nor did it rain much at night. Started by 08.00 a.m. so as to be able to reach Badlapur well in time. The road was familiar. 

It started raining and it increased gradually on way. Still it was not that heavy so as to make me go back. Reached the destination in time. However, by that time the rain had turned from drizzle to heavy and downpour. The Dindi was to start from a local school and the Mayor, Corporators and other organizers were all looked awry and worried because of the rains and the increasingly incoming news of water-logging at a number of places. I could succeed in contacting Shri Manoj Vaidya, President of the Vruksha Pradhikaran en route. Little did they think that I would be able to make it against such odd circumstances.

The programme had to be cut short. News of waterlogging, flooding of rivers, springs and rivulets started pouring in with the same speed as that of the incessant rain. Although the programme was cut short, number of people had come to know more about Hariyali and starting similar activities at their end. Had to spend some time with them. It was almost one and half hour even after the function was over. I virtually had to cut the discussion short and get into the Car to avoid getting caught up in flooded areas.

By the time I started the return journey, it was almost 1.00 p.m. And what a journey it was! Badlapur, Ambarnath, Ulhasnagar and Kalyan – all the towns en route are situated across Ulhas River, which was running if full spate with ever-increasing water level. Barvi, Chikhloli and other number of reservoirs in the region were already filled in to the overflow levels and all the gates of the dams were opened to reduce the pressure on the dams. All low-lying areas started flooding and the rivulets, nallahs had started flowing with alarming speed and increasing levels. I could not drive even for a k.m. without passing through a flooded nallah and roadside water accumulation. There were other people, autos, all hurrying through such flooded areas and roads. I was no exception. Everybody was keen to return back to the destination and get caught up at the wrong end. Driving through floods and water accumulations was not new to me. However, it never was on such a large scale and for such long stretches. By the time I could reach Ulhasnagar, I had already passed through 32 (thirty two) flooded rivulets and nallahs! Ducked a couple of nasty places by taking some long detours through high level Kaccha roads. Water passed through the vehicle almost at three places! However, the machine behaved very well. There was neither fear nor hesitation in driving through the floods. I was all alone and did not have the responsibility of driving someone else for whose safety I had to worry. However, rush through I had to, lest I get stranded at some odd place and for how long, not known!

At was all over at Ulhasnagar. All escape routes to Kalyan blocked! Ten feet water at Hira Baug and eight feet at Vitthalwadi station! No news from anywhere except for seeing people hurry through one way or the other with luggage in their hands. The phone would not work. Could , however, get a couple of calls through just to find out that all traffic had collapsed and there was tremendous water logging in Mumbai and floods throughout Konkan region. All towns and villages cut from each other and the rest of the world! Just slept in the Car on the street at one end of the Patri Bridge at Ulhasnagar for about one and half hour. A cup of hot tea or coffee would have been most welcome. However, none was visible nearby and could not take the risk going away from the Car. You won’t know whether it would be washed off from water entering from some unknown corridor or street! But the sleep did a wonderful job.

Woke up at about four thirty with a determination to find a way out. I just had to get to the other side of the river from this bridge or that, or that, or that! Nobody would give any hope. However, came across a veteran auto driver after some time. He saw the possibility of getting into Kalyan after taking a long detour from camp to camp and galli to galli! Not bad! Asked him to lead the way and followed him to the Shahad Bridge after again passing through three more water logged areas. “Cross the bridge and you would land at the gate of Birla College at the other end of the bride”, he said. That was sufficient lead for me. Once in Kalyan, I saw the possibility of making it to Thane. Nor did I mind staying in Kalyan if I had to. 

What was in store at the other end of the bridge, was, however, the longest crossing of the flooded area through deeper waters! Some youngsters in front of my Car were escorting a group of elderly women and I had to virtually halt the Car time and again until I passed through. It was very dangerous and invited trouble. The Car started rocking with the water entering the vehicle through the pedals. At long last, it was out of the troubled waters! Took the vehicle by the side of the road and removed and mopped down as much water from inside as could be done. Got on to the Durgadi Bridge to drive out of Kalyan. Passed through four more water loggings before getting on the N.H. 3 on Bhiwandi Bypass Road. Twenty more minutes to Thane without (hopefully) having to encounter anymore flooded nallahs! Waters of Ulhas at Kalyan, Kasheli and Ulhas before entering Thane were roaring! So was I! My sweet little Maruti had made it! It ventured in where big trucks were hesitating. 
A hot water shower, two cups of tea and a neat meal that followed was all that was needed to put the day behind! For, the newslines that were appearing one after the other on the small screen devastating! After some time the lights went off, the telephones would not respond. The harrowing stories that started appearing from the next day onwards of stranded passengers, office-goers, school children, working women, the hapless cattle and other pets led me to believe that I was safest, driving through trouble waters by my small trusted machine! 

Thane, 29th July 2005

Punam Singavi