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Planes, trains and schools affected by heavy rains in Mumbai

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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 the authorities to shut down schools and colleges.

Monsoon rains that lashed Mumbai since Tuesday delayed services on the heavily used suburban train network in a city that is home to 20 million people, India's two biggest stock exchanges and headquarters of major companies.

A deluge in Mumbai last month killed 14 people.

On Tuesday night, low visibility, strong winds and slippery conditions caused a SpiceJet flight to overshoot the runway while landing. It got stuck in the mud. 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, and there are delays in arrival and departure of flights due to fluctuating weather," said an official at the Mumbai airport, adding that at least 50 flights had been cancelled.

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 garbage, have made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms.

Education Minister of western Maharashtra state Vinod Tawde in a tweet on Tuesday advised all schools and colleges in the city to remain closed yesterday following forecasts of heavy rains by the weather bureau. - REUTER