Five National Disaster Response Force units as well as teams from Navy, Army and Coast Guard will be deployed in Mumbai to make the metropolis rain-ready, the civic body said on Thursday. There would be 22 days during the monsoon when the high tide would be over 4.5 metres, while the city has 487 flooding spots, the BMC said in a statement.
It had called a coordination meeting of its own officials as well as those from other agencies during the day, against the backdrop of the monsoon progressing till Karwar in neighbouring Karnataka as per the India Meteorological Department. Addressing a press conference after the meeting, BMC additional commissioner P. Velrasu said desilting work of all the major and minor nullahs (drains) had been completed, while desilting of Mithi river was almost 98 per cent complete and the remaining work would be over in two to three days.
“We have completed all pre-monsoon works at our end, with desilting of 100 per cent drains complete. Out of the total 100 plus flooding sites too, we have tackled around 30 so far. So we are expecting that if it floods it would be the remaining areas that would be impacted, he said. He said for speedy drainage of water, six major pumping stations and 10 mini pumping stations were ready, besides installation of 487 pumps at various flooding spots across the city. “Also, five teams of NDRF will be deployed in the city, and teams of Army, Navy and Coast Guard have been requested to be ready and alert during the monsoon. Of the five NDRF teams, three would be in Andheri and the remaining two would be stationed at the ward level. Also, for the first time, five Indian Army columns, each with 100 personnel, will be present," he said.
The civic body had held meetings with officials handling major infrastructural projects like metro rail and coastal road construction works to ensure channels carrying rain water are clear and do not have blockages, he said. Besides, the civic body has stopped giving permission to utility agencies for digging trenches and it won’t be given unless there is an emergency, he added.
Velrasu said the civic body will fix potholes within 24 hours of receiving complaints on their android mobile app or website, but if the potholes are big, it may take 48 hours, adding that cold mix was being given to all 24 wards for this work. In a statement, the civic body said citizens can also complain about potholes through its 8999228999 WhatsApp chat bot facility.
Speaking on the rise in COVID-19 cases amid the approaching monsoon, Dr Sanjeev Kumar, BMC additional municipal commissioner, said the civic body will ramp up testing facilities from 8,000 to around 25,000 per day if required. “In the past, we have handled very well two COVID waves in the worst of situations. So we are confident we will be able to tackle any surge," Kumar asserted.
While the city has been seeing over 500 cases daily for the past three days, testing of samples per day has hovered below the 10000-mark.