Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta Friday directed civic officials to get all manholes that are open or have their covers missing closed within 48 hours. Addressing the monthly review meeting of all ward-level officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mehta firmly said there should be a close vigil on the condition of manhole covers and the department responsible must ensure no manhole is left open.
The directive is said to be prompted by the death of a renowned doctor in August, after he fell into an open manhole. “Open manhole covers have been a major issue in the past. Recently, we lost a well-known doctor Dr Deepak Amarapurkar, who died after falling into a manhole during the August 29 floods. The issue needs to be addressed tactfully,” said a senior civic official.
Manhole covers are placed over storm water drains and sewage drains, and are also required by the civic hydraulic department. “These departments will have to coordinate immediately when any manhole cover goes missing to ensure it is replaced in time and any untoward incident is avoided,” Mehta said.
Following the inquiry report on Dr Amarapurkar’s death, it was recommended that net-type covers be provided below the main manhole cover, so that if a manhole is opened, the water will pass through, but untoward incidents like humans falling into it will not happen, a senior civic official said.
BMC officials have been considering various options for protective net covers for manholes but no decision has been taken yet. Some civic officials, activists and citizens have even submitted their own designs to find an alternative to the heavy manhole covers used currently.