Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired an important review and preparatory meeting on Sunday evening after Mumbai was pounded by rain the previous night with incidents of landslide and house collapse killing 27 people in India’s financial capital. The city registered about 200 mm of rainfall in most parts with more expected in the week ahead. After reviewing the situation through a televised system, the chief minister held a virtual meeting that was attended by Mumbai’s guardian ministers Aaditya Thackeray and Aslam Shaikh, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Iqbal Chahal, additional commissioner Suresh Kakani and key officials of the disaster management team.
CM asks agencies to be alert, clear dangerous buildings
The CM asked the municipal corporation and all disaster-related agencies to stay vigilant. Special focus should be on areas where structures may collapse, he said. Most of the deaths were caused by incidents of wall collapse in the localities of Chembur and Vikhroli, triggered by a part of the hill behind them giving way. Even last year, a portion of Malabar Hill crumbled. Thackeray emphasised on power companies being on alert as there are large settlements under towers of high-voltage power lines. Water pumping systems and staff should continue to work even at night as the intensity of rainfall in the past few days has been the highest at that time, he said. Dilapidated buildings get weaker after heavy rain and may collapse so occupants of very dangerous structures, whether under the municipal corporation or Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, should be moved out, the CM ordered. He asked all rescue squads to stay prepared and their respective control rooms to stay in constant touch with each other.
Aaditya Thackeray suggests fever clinics
As part of the preparedness plan, Aaditya Thackeray suggested starting special fever clinics as with the onset of rain cases of malaria, dengue and leptospirosis may go up, while the risk of Covid-19 remains high. Citizens should be screened and vaccinated at vaccination centres and awareness about this should be raised through housing organisations as well, he said. There are protective walls at sites where landslides usually occur in Mumbai but efforts should be made to strengthen them or other options could be explored possibly through studies by expert institutes like IITs, he said. A hotline should be set up to better coordinate between the railways and BEST bus service so that passengers do not suffer during such disasters, he added.
Power and water agencies must be on toes: Aslam Shaikh
The next few days are important and efforts should be made to ensure a smooth supply of water in Mumbai while alternative arrangements should also be made, said Aslam Shaikh. He also asked the electricity companies to take precautionary measures to ensure that power lines and poles remain in good condition and there are no cases of electrocution.
BMC chief says civic body keeping an eye on dangerous spots
Construction of the planned Parjanya Jal Udanchan Kendra at Mahul will start soon, and after the completion of this pumping station the problem of water conservation in areas like Kurla, Siva, Chunabhatti, etc, will be solved, the BMC commissioner said. In view of the landslides caused by rain in Mumbai, the municipal administration is keeping a close eye on all precarious spots, he said. Action is also being taken to relocate and rehabilitate residents of such places, the commissioner informed. Chahal also mentioned that BMC officials and employees will be on 24-hour duty for the coming days when heavy rain has been predicted.