The Centre on Tuesday assured that there was no threat of Mumbai getting submerged, and dismissed a study that said large portions of the city may be wiped out because of rising sea levels and climate change, PTI reported.
A research published in the journal Nature said in October that large portions of Mumbai are at risk of going under water by 2050.
Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan urged members in the Rajya Sabha to believe Indian scientists and said the data produced by them in this regard is “rated best in the entire world”.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said the information about Mumbai being at risk of submersion has come from foreign countries, and no research has been conducted in India. Most of Mumbai is reclaimed land, she said.
However, Vardhan said: “Whatever we are saying is based on the reports of our scientists and the data produced by them are rated best in the whole world. There is no reason for you to worry about Mumbai. Mumbai is not going to be submerged.”
The minister said the available data and model studies do not indicate inundation occuring in major parts of southern Mumbai. “At Mumbai coast, the average rise of sea level has been around 0.74 mm per year based on the tide gauge data collected during 1878-2005,” Vardhan told MPs. “Accordingly, the sea level at Mumbai coast will increase by 33.3 mm or 3.33 cm from the current level in 2050.”
The research paper’s authors – New Jersey-based nonprofit Climate Central’s Scott A Kulp and Benjamin H Strauss – developed a method to estimate the effects of rise in sea levels, and found that about 150 million people are currently living on land that may be below the high-tide line by 2050.
However, Vardhan said Mumbai does not figure among high-risk regions as per ocean vulnerability maps.
Asked whether the government was playing down the matter, the minister said: “I must tell you, this is the same country which was literally caught unawares in 2004 when we had tsunami. Today, the data that we produce for early warnings of tsunami are rated as number one in the world.”
Vardhan said India was sharing data on cyclone with other countries along the coast. “So, there is no reason why we should doubt the capability of our scientists,” he said. “We are officially rated number one in the world today.”