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News18 Impact: BMC Forced to Upload Critical Data on Hospital Beds 3 Days After Pulling it Down

A labourer carries cement inside a makeshift quarantine facility for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Mumbai, on June 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

A labourer carries cement inside a makeshift quarantine facility for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Mumbai, on June 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

While the BMC attributed the lapse to a technical error because of staff crunch, the MNS accused the civic body of toying with the lives of people.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai pulled down critical data on the availability of hospital beds in the city from its website for three days. Not only was the Covid-19 war room dashboard pulled down, but even the tab under which the data was uploaded was removed from the website.

Hours after CNN-News18 reported on the move, the BMC restored the data. BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal himself took cognisance of the matter and directed officials to share the information regularly.

The BMC attributed the error to technical problems and lack of manpower.

The BMC uploads critical updates on the coronavirus situation in Mumbai on the website Stopcoronavirus.mcgm.in. Last week, the civic body started showing its war room dashboard under a tab named 'key updates and trends'. The dashboard has important data on the types of beds and the number of beds that are occupied. It has data on Covid-19 trends in Mumbai, ward-wise information, helpline numbers and testing figures.

But three days ago, the BMC abruptly stopped sharing the information on the website. Not just that, it also removed the tab 'key updates and trends' from the website.

More importantly, on all these days, Mumbai witnessed substantial increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

After News18 reported on the missing information, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) asked whether the BMC is “playing with the lives of people”,

Demanding the immediate restoration of data, senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said, “This is a grave lapse. Is the BMC backstabbing the people of Mumbai? They must be held accountable.”

Within hours, municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal took cognisance of the lapse and personally intervened in the matter. He directed his officials to ensure that the tab is restored and updated information is shared.

Speaking about the lapse, Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Sheikh told CNN-News18 that it was an error which has been corrected. He also claimed that there was no shortage of beds in the city and that the government is also ramping up the capacity of hospitals.

An official BMC spokesperson News18 that it was a technical error because of “lack of manpower”.

first published:June 12, 2020, 15:43 IST