The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has deployed 140 trained firemen who will work as lifeguards until new lifeguards are recruited.
Each beach will have at least five firemen keeping vigil on busy days like Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and days when the tide is expected to be higher than 4.5 meters.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar, who is in charge of the Fire Brigade department, said, “We have deployed 140 fire brigade personnel at all beaches from Monday. These firemen have been trained to rescue those who are stranded or are drowning.”
On Monday, Hindustan Times had reported that of 102 scheduled posts of lifeguards, 70 have been vacant for the past year. The BMC has been making do with only 32 lifeguards who are guarding six beaches across Mumbai. Twenty-three of these are on contract and nine are BMC employees.
“On normal days [odd-days] our lifeguards will be taking care of the beaches but on weekends, public holidays and high tide days firemen will handle the beaches,” Mhaiskar said.
Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya said vacant posts will be filled in the next two months. “More well-equipped lifeguards will be needed on the beaches,” Kshatirya said. “We will the start process immediately.”
Kshatriya said people should avoid going to beaches on days when the tide is high.