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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

To avert another August 29 deluge: BMC to implement long, short-term suggestions

Civic body proposes King’s Circle and Sion Hospital flyovers be connected with elevated road for heavy vehicles

Written by Arita Sarkar | Mumbai | Published: September 28, 2017 12:33:54 am
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, BMC, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Mumbai Traffic police, Maharashtra Railways, Mumbai BEST, Mumbai local trains, Mumbai buses, India news, National news Mumbai recorded 315 mm rainfall on August 29. Express file

APART from pointing out the lapses in coordination with other agencies during the August 29 deluge, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was drawing up suggestions to be better prepared for any similar situations in future. After the disaster management department’s internal report pointed out faults of agencies like the Traffic police, Railways, BEST among others, the civic administration was planning to hold a meeting with their representatives to plug the loopholes and devise a consolidated plan.

Earlier this month, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had directed assistant municipal commissioners of all the wards to identify the areas that were worst affected during the floods and suggest measures to rectify the problems. “Instead of appointing consultants, we have decided to use our in-house resources and come up with short-term and long-term suggestions to fix the issues like the ones we faced on August 29. The ward officials were all on the field on that day and I have asked them to come up with a list of their suggestions that can be implemented,” said Mehta.

Several wards like H- East (Bandra West) and F-North (Matunga, King’s Circle, Hindmata) have come up with measures to tackle the long-standing complaints of waterlogging. Referring to the waterlogging that often occurs in front of National College in Bandra West, Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner of H West ward, said, “We have identified the cause of the waterlogging to be the railway culvert located near Jai Bharat Society near the Railway Colony which needs to be widened. We have proposed that the BMC and Railways can jointly do it.”

In F North ward, waterlogging at Hindmata and Gandhi Market was a regular feature every monsoon. Keshav Ubale, assistant municipal commissioner of the area, pointed out that on August 29, there was a massive traffic jam on Dr BR Ambedkar Road, which took 20 hours to clear. “We cannot afford such massive traffic jams on Mumbai’s roads. While the storm water drains department is working on augmentation of the Britannia pumping station, we have proposed that the King’s Circle and Sion Hospital flyovers be connected with an elevated road which can be used by the larger vehicles. The level of the road below the bridge can then be raised and smaller vehicles can use that route,” said Ubale.

Mehta added that apart from compiling a list of such suggestions from the ward office, the BMC would also send out individual letters to all the agencies, highlighting the findings of the internal report. He said the members of the agencies would then be invited for a joint meeting where the issues could be discussed and a well coordinated plan could be chalked out.

He added that information being sent out on Twitter should only be done by the Mumbai police in order to have a linear communication system. “It can be chaotic if multiple agencies tweet vital information during disasters. The disaster management will coordinate with them and will update them but the Mumbai police alone should tweet all the information to avoid confusion,” said Mehta.

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