This monsoon, every time it rains heavily, the ward officer of your area will hop into a Scorpio, pick up the public announcement system and go around telling people what precautions they need to take.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has planned to arm each of its 24 ward officers with public announcements (PA) system, to be fitted in their official cars.
“One might call it conventional but during heavy rains, there are blackouts and even mobile networks fail. At such times, such conventional methods of communication help in disseminating information,” said Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya.
Each Scorpio will also have a wireless system installed, making it easier for the ward officer to coordinate with agencies on the move. As Mumbai eagerly awaits this year’s showers, Kshatriya claimed the city was “rain-ready”. “I believe 95 per cent of the pre-monsoon desilting work is over. I can assure citizens that they need not worry about it.’’
The BMC also plans to rope in mobile network operators and radio channels to send messages from the BMC control room to the public. Each of the 24 wards will also have an operational disaster control room, Kshatriya said.
“Each of these wards will have a special hotline connecting the ward office to the main disaster control room at the BMC headquarters.” The BMC will also hand out a diary with dates of high tides and timings. This diary will also contain a list of important numbers of control rooms of various agencies.
Kshatriya said the BMC has identified 721 dilapidated buildings, which will be served notices. “Of these 328 fall under MHADA. The other buildings will be served notices in the next couple of days and if need be, they will be forcibly evacuated.”
The BMC has also identified 127 spots prone to landslides during monsoon. Last year, a landslide in Saki Naka had killed 10 and injured 25 others.
The BMC has positioned 196 dewatering pumps at 189 flood-prone locations. Three companies of the newly formed National Disaster Response Force, two companies of the State Reserve Police Force and nine naval teams will be on alert.
Penalty for dumping garbage
Persons repeatedly found to be dumping garbage in nullahs will be fined. The BMC will first issue an appeal to citizens to not dump garbage, especially plastic and thermocol items, in drains. “If the request goes unheeded, we will be forced to take action,” Kshatriya said.
Kasturba Hospital on alert
Kasturba Hospital will be on high alert to deal with monsoon-related diseases. The BMC will reach out to slums and disseminate information about precautions against water-borne diseases.
BRIMSTOWAD 60 per cent complete
Kshatriya said 60 per cent of the BRIMSTOWAD project was complete and two new pumping stations at Haji Ali and Irla will reduce flooding. Information available with the Storm Water Drain department, however, paints a different picture. Out of the 62 works proposed under BRIMSTOWAD, only 11 have been completed. Twelve projects are in the tendering stage.