After the death of senior gastroenterologist Dr Deepak Amrapurkar, who fell in an open manhole last monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to cover city’s “dangerous” manholes with safety nets or metal mesh ahead of monsoon this year. These safety nets will be fixed six inches below the road level.
The BMC is planning to install around 1,450 safety nets /metal mesh on manholes at crucial locations, at the total cost of Rs1.38 crore. The work will be carried out in a phased manner and each net costs around Rs 9,480.
In the first phase, the civic body will install safety nets on 368 manholes. The BMC has procured nets for the first phase work. The civic body is in the process of procuring remaining safety nets, which will be done in the second phase of the project. Manhole covers are put over storm-water drains, 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 that it is replaced in time and an untoward incident is avoided,” said a senior official. Amrapurkar died after falling into an open manhole at Elphinstone Road on August 29, 2017, a day when parts of the city recorded rainfall of 315 mm. After the tragic death of Amrapurkar, the BMC had been looking at safer designs for manholes. Investigation revealed local residents had opened manhole covers in the locality to allow rainwater to flow out.
A senior civic official said: “Following the inquiry report on Amarapurkar’s death, it was recommended that net-type covers should be provided below the main manhole cover… to avoid any untoward incident.”
In 2010, 11-year-old Tushar Jadhav fell into an open manhole at Mariam Nagar in Worli. “We wanted to come up with a permanent solution to deal with this issue. We were looking at not just feasibility but, a solution for theft of manhole covers, maintenance etc at the same time,” the official said.