Don’t panic if you see a police van making rounds during heavy rains, making announcements asking you to stay indoors. This is part of the Mumbai police’s monsoon preparedness plan for public safety.
To streamline the disaster management operation, a 250-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been circulated to all 90 police stations in the city and its ancillary units.
“From waterlogging to drowning, we will be manning every rescue operation this monsoon,” said Rajnish Seth, joint commissioner of police, law and order.
Madhav More, senior inspector at the police control room that is the nodal coordination office for disaster control, said the SOP contained the dos and don’ts for policemen of every rank during an emergency situation. “For instance, during every high-tide day (above 4m), all policemen would be kept on alert mode. If there are heavy showers on the same day, the SOP would be put in operation,” he said.
Police stations in low-lying areas have been provided with boats, searchlights, life vests and ropes. Evacuation of people in waterlogged areas, especially near the Mithi and Dahisar rivers, and dilapidated buildings would commence immediately.
The police have tied up with schools, colleges, NGOs and voluntary bodies to shift the people and provide them with food and water. Several private hospitals and ambulance operators have been roped in to provide medical assistance.
Extra deployments would be made at chronic flooding spots — Milan subway, Andheri subway, Wadala TT, King’s Circle.
In coordination with the traffic police, diversions have been selected at bottlenecks. Towing vehicles will be deployed to remove vehicles that have broken down.
In case the suburban rail services are affected, the police have been asked to make immediate bandobast in and around the stations from both sides (east and west). Help would be sought from the BEST, private transporters, taxi-auto unions and private buses to help commuters.
Emphasis is being laid on stopping gathering of crowds at platforms since it could result in picking pockets, molestation or eve-teasing. Commuters would not be allowed to walk on the tracks, which, at many places, have nullahs and even rivulets running below, More said.
A special control room (apart from the five regional ones) has been set up at the Bandra-Kurla Complex police station. A team comprising 50 constables, supervised by a police sub-inspector, has been deployed there. “To be used as reinforcements, the team has been equipped with all life-saving equipment, including amphibious vehicles and medicines,” More said.