While Sunday's drowning reiterates the need for safety on our beaches, a BMC plan to procure modern equipment to help lifeguards with rescue operations has not been implemented even four years after it was proposed.
The BMC floated tenders in April 2013 for the Rs. 5.07 crore plan , but the contractor is yet to be finalised. Lifeguards are currently armed with just rescue tubes, life jackets, ropes and ring buoys. There are only 35 lifeguards in the city, of which 23 are hired on contractual basis. During Sunday's drowning, only one was present at the Aksa beach. "Two lifeguards are supposed to be on duty in the morning, but one of them didn't show up," said Rajnikanth Mashelkar, senior lifeguard.
Larson Fernandes, secretary of the NGO, Juhu beach lifeguards, said, "The NGO has the equipment and lifeguards to protect the shoreline, but BMC has not been co-operating with us despite several letters written to both fire brigade and municipal officers."
Additional commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar and chief fire officer SV Joshi were unavailable for comment despite several attempts. A fire brigade department official said they are likely to purchase the equipment before or during rains.