The next time you’re stuck in floods or a building collapses in the city, expect, in an ideal situation, to find Congress workers wearing yellow trousers and white t-shirts to help during such emergencies.
The Mumbai unit of the party inaugurated a Disaster Management Department (DMD) yesterday, in presence of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre, city unit chief Janardhan Chandurkar and other leaders.
In what party men are terming as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-style organisation, 600 Congress party workers will be part of a team that will be on call to help during disasters and emergency situations. Each of the six district units in the city will provide 100 workers for the department, which was inaugurated at the Mumbai Congress office at Azad Maidan.
The idea is said to have been mooted by AICC in-charge Mohan Prakash. Members of DMD will be paid R2,000 every month and are expected to be available 24x7 with a mobile phone, a prospect party workers find bizarre. “I don’t know which Congress worker is going to take the job seriously for such a small amount,” murmured a party leader.
Leaders also attributed it to Madhusudan Mistry, an AICC functionary who was previously associated with the RSS. They felt that such a move comes due to the active role the RSS played in securing a phenomenal win for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
Party workers also raised a question over why such a team was created, when the Congress Sevadal, the party’s grassroots organisation, had been created with a similar motive.
Members of Sevadal were expected to be active during the crisis and major incidents, but are rarely used for the cause. “We never used them seriously except celebrating national days and at party conclave,” said the leader.
However, Congress city chief Janardhan Chandurkar denied it was the same as Sevadal. “The idea is not only to help during monsoon. Party workers will also help in rescue work during building collapses and coordinate with local BMC offices.
We will also ask them to help voters whose names were missing from the voters’s lists or had corrections in it.” Chandurkar added that the DMD is going to be a unit of party youngsters who are expected to be active in domains different from those covered by Sevadal volunteers.