Ambedkar followers caught in washout as Shivaji Park turns into sea of brown slush

Dec 05, 2017, 19:09 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Politicos criticise civic body for not making enough arrangements for December 6 visitors at Shivaji Park, despite IMD warning

Just like the rest of Mumbai, the civic body, too, was caught unawares by the rain. Barely days after the BMC was praised for its arrangements at Shivaji Park for followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar arriving in the city to mark the leader's death anniversary on December 6, last night it was criticised severely by political parties for not being prepared for the Monday downpour despite an IMD warning.

The rain left Shivaji Park a mess last night. Pic/ Pradeep DhivarThe rain left Shivaji Park a mess last night. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar

When mid-day visitedShivajiParkearly this morning, it was a sea of brown slush with some water-logging in parts.  The BMC staff was seen using bulldozers to level the ground that had become slippery. Head of the state Congress Scheduled Caste cell Dr Raju Waghmare, who was present atShivajiParkalong with his followers, said he was unhappy with the way BMC was handling the situation.

People huddle under plastic sheets at Shivaji Park following the sudden downpour. Pics/ Ashish Rane

Waghmare said, "The BMC has failed to help visitors who have come here to pay tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Post the rainfall prediction, authorities should have immediately moved people to safe locations at the earliest, but it was only after we intervened that they speeded up the work."

Sudden rain leaves lakhs of Ambedkar followers at Shivaji Park helpless

A police officer posted at the spot told mid-day that after it had started raining, BEST buses were arranged and the followers were shifted to 26 BMC schools in the vicinity. Till 2 am, around 4,000-4,500 people had been moved to the schools.

Sudden rain leaves lakhs of Ambedkar followers at Shivaji Park helpless
Sudden rain leaves lakhs of Ambedkar followers at Shivaji Park helpless

"Will shifting people into school premises help if there are no arrangements made? What about toilets, drinking water and food?" Waghmare said.

People scramble for cover in every available space, including security gatesPeople scramble for cover in every available space, including security gates

He also said that on Tuesday, thousands more would be coming and to ensure that they did not face any problem, he has requested the Labour Welfare Commissioner to keep its kalyankendras open in Naigaon, Delisle Road and Worli.

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