MCGM claims well prepared for monsoon

Even after 5 yrs, memories of July 26 deluge continue to be etched in the minds of Mumbaikars and the civic body which claims to be better prepared now as it has upgraded itself right from communication to manpower to technology.

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2010, 15:52 PM IST

Mumbai: Even after five years, memories
of July 26 deluge continue to be etched in the minds of
Mumbaikars and the civic body which claims to be better
prepared now as it has upgraded itself right from
communication to manpower to technology.

"We pray that 26/7 deluge like situation do not come
again. It was an unfortunate situation which comes once in 100
years or so. In any case, we are better prepared today,"
Municipal Commissioner Swadhin Kshatriya told a news agency here.

July 26 deluge saw 944 mm of heavy rainfall coinciding
with a tide of 4.48 metre that marooned the entire city with
unprecedented floods that took lives of more than 400 people.

MCGM that received flak after the deluge undertook
several measures to ensure Mumbaikars do not face problem
during monsoon.

"We have undertaken several measures including the
BRIMSTOWAD project, widening and deepening of drains,
installing pumping stations, forming rescue teams, upgrading
the communication system," Kshatriya said.

The civic body undertook infrastructure activities
like widening and deepening of Mithi River, Dahisar, Poisar
and Oshiwara River and drains, installing pumping stations.

Chitale committee report said Mithi river stretch near
Krantinagar, Kurla, should be widened to 100 metre downstream
and 40 metre upstream to sustain rainfall of 100 mm in an
hour.

"MCGM completed widening of the river last year until
the culvert is widened, flooding would continue in the area,"
an official from the disaster management cell said.

The civic body also undertook measures to mitigate
flooding by augmenting storm water drain (SWD) system.

"Since 2006, SWD system is being cleaned and desilted
with an annual expenditure of about Rs 50 crore. Eight pumping
stations are to be installed to discharge incoming storm water
into the sea. Of those eight, two stations are ready this
monsoon - Irla in suburban Vile Parle and Haji Ali in south
Mumbai," Joint Municipal Commissioner SS Shinde said.

About 196 pumps have been provided at 189 locations.

MCGM has installed automatic weather stations and rain
gauges to get real time data on rainfall.

"There were two weather stations - Colaba and
Santacruz. IMD provides information about rainfall every 24
hours. The first decision was to set up automatic weather
stations, which gives information every 15 minutes," he said.

Currently, there are 35 automatic weather stations,
Shinde said, adding, "Flow gauges are installed at upstream of
Mithi River to monitor water flow and warning is issued to the
people living in the down stream."

MCGM initiated measures to respond to floods by
providing temporary shelters, that are usually Municipal
schools, about four-five each shelters are been identified in
all the 24 wards.

In 2006 flood rescue teams were formed that are
provided with boats, kayaks and other necessary equipments.

Six navy teams, two State Reserve Police Force and
three of the National Disaster Response Force will be deployed
at flood-prone areas. Round-the-clock control room will
coordinate between the army, navy, police and the hospitals.

The civic body upgraded the Emergency Operation Centre
(EOC) which is at the MCGM headquarters in south Mumbai.

"EOC has been set up with hotlines that are connected
with several agencies including fire department, Mantralaya,
hospitals and others. This year similar control rooms are set
up at all the 24 wards," Shinde said.

This monsoon, about 95 percent of the desilting work
of nullahs is over. Anyone caught dumping garbage, thermacol
or plastic into the rivers and nullahs, fine ranging from
Rs 100 to Rs 5,000 will be imposed.

Since 26/7 deluge flooding spots have gradually
decreased. While there were 371 chronic flooding spots in
2005, it came down to 89 in 2009.

MCGM has identified 249 spots prone to water-logging,
of which, 55 are chronic. These include Milan subway, Andheri
subway, Kalachowkie, Kurla and Dadar.

MCGM is also taking help of the traffic department`s
CCTV project to monitor water logging in the city.

PTI