Lofty, three-year-old promises to build three 20-foot tall watchtowers at Juhu remain unrealised; lifeguards can't spot people drowning in the waters
This year, as you and thousands of other revellers head to the Juhu beach for Ganpati visarjan, know that your safety is entirely your responsibility.
Every year, six temporary bamboo structures are erected on the Juhu Beach ad hoc
Lofty, three-year-old promises to build three 20-foot tall watchtowers, constructed with low maintenance, non-corrosive stainless steel and equipped with search lights and quick descent poles, remain unfulfilled. Little wonder lifeguards cite this as a major reason why rescue operations are difficult to undertake at the beach.
In August 2011, hordes of curious visitors thronged Juhu beach to catch a glimpse of MV Wisdom and MT Pavit, two large ocean vessels that ran aground on Juhu beach. Many visitors ran into the choppy waters to take a closer look, risking their lives. sunday mid-day had earlier reported how R3.5 crore was sanctioned from the MLA fund to construct the watchtower project.
Three years down the line, the total project cost has escalated to R13.5 crore without a single metallic rod being welded on the spot or a simple lifebuoy procured.
Neville David, president of the Juhu Beach Lifeguard Association, said that like every year, six temporary bamboo structures have been erected on the Juhu Beach. “These bamboo structures can only be utilised for mounting floodlights. They cannot be called watchtowers, which are an important part of any rescue management team as they give lifeguards a bird’s-eye view of the beach and helps them spot drowning victims even from a distance and raise alarm. Our lifeguards here have nothing.” said David.
Congress MLA Ashok Bhau Jadhav, who had initially sanctioned the money from his MLA fund, said that the entire plan was cleared by the collector’s office, but ran into trouble during the implementation phase. He states that the cost has now escalated because “a better plan has been chalked out.”
“The project was supposed to be completed within a year back then, but we faced issues in getting permissions from Coastal Regulation Authorities (CRZ). The project is now being handled by the tourism department, who have formulated a better plan, which will cost R13.5 crore . We have got the plan approved and have sent the papers to a coastal management agency in Chennai for a final NOC,” said Jadhav.