Steep rise in number of drowing cases off city beaches | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Steep rise in number of drowing cases off city beaches

Despite the civic body’s tall promises about ensuring the safety of beachgoers, particularly on holidays and high-tide days, the number of deaths because of drowning in the sea have only increased.

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2012 01:06 IST
Poorvi Kulkarni

Despite the civic body’s tall promises about ensuring the safety of beachgoers, particularly on holidays and high-tide days, the number of deaths because of drowning in the sea have only increased. Figures from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) show a steep rise in the number of drowning deaths in the past three years. In 2008, there were two drowning deaths, while 2011 saw 23 deaths. This year, the monsoon has barely begun, yet there have already been nine drowning deaths.

Taking this into account, the civic body had decided to deploy flood rescue teams of the Mumbai fire brigade on holidays, weekends and high tide days. However, figures suggest that adding to the strength of guards at beaches has not made any difference.

Even as officials blame it on the apathy of beachgoers, lifeguards said there was not enough equipment required for rescue operations. “There are several factors owing to which the number of drowning cases has not reduced. At the moment, we are equipped with rescue tubes and lifeguard rings. There is a proposal made for buying equipment such as jet skis, motorboats and building beach towers to upgrade security, but it has not been taken up yet,” said SD Sawant, additional deputy fire officer (in charge of beach safety).

The civic body is now considering involving private security agencies. However, a voluntary rescue team, Sea Guardian Lifeguard, that used to operate at Juhu, had stopped operations in May citing non-cooperation by civic authorities.Activists, however, said involving private security agencies should not be considered as an alternative. “It is up to the BMC to take ensure safety,” said Anandini Thakoor, managing trustee of Khar Residents’ Association.