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Heavy rains batter Mumbai yet again; air, rail traffic hit

People walk past a waterlogged street in the rain in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Monsoon season in India begins in June and ends in October. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
MUMBAI: Heavy rains battered India’s financial hub for the second time in weeks causing massive disruption at the country’s second busiest airport and forcing authorities to shut down schools and colleges.
Monsoon rains that lashed Mumbai since Tuesday evening delayed services on the heavily-used suburban train network in a city that is home to India’s two biggest stock exchanges and the headquarters of several major companies.
A deluge in Mumbai last month killed 14 people, wrecked homes and caused chaos in the city of 20 million people.
Low visibility, strong winds and slippery conditions caused a SpiceJet flight to overshoot the runway while landing on Tuesday night.
The airline said all 183 passengers on the flight from the northern city of Varanasi were safe, but the incident led to widespread disruption in air traffic.
India’s largest carrier Indigo and rivals Jet Airways and Vistara said they had halted some flights to and from Mumbai due to bad weather and unavailability of runways.
“The main runway has been closed for operations and there are delays in arrival and departure of flights due to fluctuating weather,” said a senior official at the Mumbai airport, adding at least 50 flights had been canceled.
Although Mumbai is trying to build itself into a global financial hub, parts of the city still struggle to cope with annual monsoon rains.
Unabated construction on floodplains and coastal areas, as well as storm-water drains and waterways clogged by plastic garbage have made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms.
Floods in 2005 killed more than 500 people in the city. The majority of deaths occurred in shanty town slums, which are home to more than half of Mumbai’s population.
The education minister of western Maharashtra state, Vinod Tawde, in a tweet on Tuesday advised all schools and colleges in the city to remain closed on Wednesday following forecasts of heavy rains by the weather bureau.

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