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3 years after deadline, BMC's disaster management institute yet to open

Planned after the July 2005 deluge to train civic officials and citizens on dealing with emergencies, construction of the building in Parel started in 2009, and it was supposed to be inaugurated in 2011; however, it is far from ready

Every year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation (BMc) grapples with fires, building collapses, tree collapses and flooding during the monsoon.

Also read: BMC dragging feet on disaster management?

Yet, the civic body hasn’t bothered to pay attention to the very disaster management institute it had planned to start, to train its staffers to deal with such situations. Three years after its promised deadline, the City Institute of Disaster Management (CIDM) is still awaiting inauguration.

Till date, the civic body has spent Rs 3 crore on the building and the various modern facilities that are housed inside; the interior work is yet to be completed
Till date, the civic body has spent Rs 3 crore on the building and the various modern facilities that are housed inside; the interior work is yet to be completed

The CIDM was incepted after the 2005 deluge that wreaked havoc in the city, with an aim to train its staff members and the general public on how to deal with disasters such as floods, fires, building collapses etc. civic officials had promised it would open in 2011, but that day is yet to materialise.

Disastrous beginning
construction of the building began in 2009 inside Parel’s Kalpataru complex, after procuring land from the builder. Till date, the civic body has spent Rs 3 crore on the building and the various modern facilities that are housed inside. The four-storey glass facade structure is 90 per cent complete currently, work on the fourth-floor auditorium is in progress.

“Because of cost escalation, the project got delayed. All furniture work is already completed and in the next two months, we will start operating from this building,” claimed an official from BMc’s disaster management cell.

The institute has already had a disastrous beginning even before it actually opened its doors to anyone. Last year, miscreants sneaked into the building through the emergency exit and broke washbasins on every floor these have still not been replaced. Parts of the building’s glass facade have also been damaged. The civic body appointed a caretaker to keep watch over its property after these incidents.

The BMC has spent Rs 3 crore on the institute till date and the washbasins which were damaged by miscreants last year are still broken
The BMC has spent Rs 3 crore on the institute till date and the washbasins which were damaged by miscreants last year are still broken

When we visited the site yesterday, we found that work on the top floor auditorium was underway. The ground floor is completely filled with machines and equipment. civic officials blame lack of funds for the delay and claimed that there were also issues in procuring certain equipment.

The BMC plans to run a one-year course in disaster management in partnership with the University of Mumbai. There are also plans to get experts in disaster management to share knowledge with officials to prepare the city to deal with such events. However, all this can only happen when the institute actually opens.

Facilities at CIDM
BMC claims it will be Asia’s one and only training institute operated by a municipal corporation. The school will impart special training on disaster management to BMC staffers, as well as citizens.

>> Earthquake simulator: It simulates an earthquake through vibration input to a structure. Earthquake simulations are generally carried out to study the effects of earthquakes on man-made engineering structures or on natural structures such as hills, mountains, which may present a hazard

>> Training centre and a control room with hotlines and wireless facility on the first floor

>> Library and a small auditorium on the second floor

>> Guest rooms for experts who will be invited to give training sessions

>> 200-seater auditorium with ‘4D chairs’ on which participants can sit and get a real feel of an earthquake or a tsunami. Work on this hall is still ongoing

BMC speak
When asked about the inordinate delay in opening the institute, S S Shinde, joint municipal commissioner, disaster management, told mid-day, “Work on CIDM is in the final stage.

We will be able to start the first three floors of the building in the next couple of months. Since the fourth floor has a special auditorium, including 4D chairs, we have to wait for some more time for that to begin operation.”

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