Ahead of the 10-day-long Ganeshotsav celebrations beginning next week,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has raised its disaster preparedness.
In addition to Rs 200-crore budget for disaster preparedness for the four months of the monsoon season,the corporation has also set aside another Rs 10 crore for smooth immersion of Ganesh idols this season.
For all days of visarjan (immersion),850 lifeguards from various NGOs in the city will be engaged while 80 boats will be plying along the Mumbai shoreline. As many as 1,500 civic officers and 10,000 civic employees will be on duty. The corporation will also involve civil defence teams with a total of 300 people. It has also requested that the two teams of National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF),comprising a total of 90 personnel,extend their stay in the city by two weeks,from September 19 to September 30.
The Navy has been notified to be on stand-by in addition to having the NDRF and the civil defence teams here. NDRF personnel will be stationed across the city coastline, said Mahesh Narvekar,chief of the civic disaster management cell.
Mumbai has 72 immersion spots,of which 27 are on the citys six beaches: Girgaum Chowpatty,Dadar,Juhu,Versova,Aksa and Gorai. To encourage people for safer eco-friendly immersion,the BMC has also increased the number of artificial ponds from 22 to 27.
For improved connectivity and faster response in case of an emergency,a hotline connection between Gigaum Chowpatty beach and the civic disaster management cell located in the BMC headquarters near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) has been established for the first time.
Though there was no drowning case here last year,major idols are taken to this beach for immersion. We have also introduced ham radio operatives,which will have their base at Chowpatty. Through these,in case of an emergency,support will be mobilised from all agencies,including the Navy, Narvekar said.
The BMC has also trained three teams of 175 Ganesh Mandal volunteers in disaster management.
We have trained a team of volunteers for the island city,western suburbs,and the eastern suburbs in disaster response,providing first aid,defusing bombs and fire-fighting, Narvekar said,adding that police and fire brigade were roped for providing the training.