There are chances of the city getting flooded due to heavy showers on the 18 days of the monsoon marked as high tide days. For this reason, the BMC and fire brigade want adequate number of lifeguards at the city’s beaches. MiD DAY had reported in its story last month, titled ‘Fisherfolk give lifeguard jobs a miss’, about the koli community shunning jobs as lifeguards.
Applications from the kolis, who work as lifeguards each monsoon, have been few this season due to financial reasons. Hence, the fire brigade has suggested to BMC authorities to increase the salary from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per month. There are already about 49 lifeguards deployed by the BMC at all six beaches of the city and with the monsoon at its peak the fire brigade has also stepped in to ensure there are no drowning cases.
The lifeguards have been appointed by the civic body on a contractual basis at a mere salary of Rs 8,000 per month. The BMC has not appointed lifeguards on a permanent basis for a long time now and was expecting more applications from the kolis this season but that has not been the case. A koli, on condition of anonymity, said, “If we were offered more money we would have asked more people to join in as lifeguards. If this amount is given even next year we are sure to join hands with the civic body and work as lifeguards.”
The deputy chief fire officer, P S Rahandale, said, “This is a new move we are considering and we will be giving Rs 10,000 approximately per month so that there will be no constraint of lifeguards at beaches this year. We also hope that citizens are careful about venturing on to beaches on high tide days.”