The flooding of railway tracks this monsoon leading to a disruption of services will not go unpunished this year. If the culprit is a choked culvert, the officer in charge will face action.
There are 83 culverts along the Central Railway and 43 along the Western Railway.
“We have given clear directions to rail officials. If we find that a situation arose because a culvert wasn’t cleaned, the official concerned will be pulled up,” said Narayan Rane, minister of relief and rehabilitation, at Mantralaya on Thursday.
He had just finished a pre-monsoon and disaster management meeting with civic agencies, the traffic department, railways, the fire brigade, defence forces and other stakeholders in the disaster management process.
The civic body and the railways each claim it’s the other’s responsibility to clean choked culverts. There have been two coordination meetings between them, the first phase of cleaning is complete and a joint inspection will be held next week.
Bad roads and road works creating traffic jams were also discussed in Thursday’s meeting. “The civic body has been instructed to blacklist contractors who leave works unfinished,” Rane said.
Another concern was dilapidated buildings, many of which are on the verge of collapsing. “We have identified 25 buildings as dangerous and have served notices to all of them. People from only eight buildings have moved so far; we are trying to get the others out,” Rane said.
But, despite the measures taken, Rane said flooding in some areas was inevitable. “The problem is that the land is below the mean sea level, so whatever you do some places will flood. What we have done is arranged for temporary pumps to expel the water. We promise that there will be no loss of life,” he said.