Every year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) assures citizens of a flood-free monsoon. However, every year, the claims are washed away with the first bout of rains that hit the city. With the monsoons soon approaching, the civic body has undertaken a slew of measures as a part of its pre-monsoon preparedness, but will it ensure a hassle-free monsoon for the city?
Consider this, the BMC had earlier set a deadline of May 31 for completing desilting works in the city. However, it recently pushed the deadline by a week to June 5 owing to assigning late contracts. The BMC has claimed to finish 80% of the desilting works, but residents complain that the silt is not being transported to the dumping grounds regularly. This poses a problem if the rains hit early and the silt flows to the drains again.
The BMC has also identified 270 spots in the city that are prone to water-logging. Of these, 66 spots have been identified as chronic flooding spots. Senior civic officials have expressed fear on the 24 high tide days when heavy rains coupled with rising sea levels could result in inundation. IA Kundan, additional municipal commissioner, in a press conference earlier said, “We have taken adequate steps to resolve water-logging but high tide coupled with heavy rains could pose a threat.”
In terms of beach safety, though the fire brigade mans the six beaches in the city, senior officials have admitted that there are many vacant posts among the contractual lifeguards appointed for the job. “We are still in the process of recruiting contractual lifeguards,” a fire official said.
In yet another monsoon preparedness regime, BMC has identified 284 spots in the city that are prone to landslide. Though the standard operating procedure mandates construction of a retaining wall in all these spots by the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA), corporators from various wards have admitted that the work is still in progress. For instance, the BMC has identified 161 landslide spots in the hilly areas of Bhandup itself. Ramesh Koregaonkar, a Sena corporator from the ward, however, said that most of the spots do not have retaining walls built yet.
The BMC has also issued notices to a majority of dilapidated buildings in the city that face a risk of collapse in the coming monsoons. Notices have also been issued to 633 private buildings in the most dangerous category and 23 cessed structures. It has also identified 2,057 C2 structures, which require major repairs, and 585 private buildings in the C3 category, which require minor repairs. Residents of most of these buildings, however, refuse to relocate stating that the transit camps allotted are far from their current location.