BMC's 20-member cell is swamped with help calls as torrential rain submerges city
The Disaster Management Cell (DMC) of the civic body had one of its busiest days on Friday, when Mumbai was
submerged due to the downpour.
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A BMC worker flags an open manhole on a waterlogged street near Hindmata Cinema in Parel on Friday. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The DMC has received more than 4,700 calls since Thursday night, most of which were complaints related to waterlogged areas, tree collapses and traffic woes. Till Friday, the cell had received 3,000 calls.
"We usually work in three shifts, with about six to seven people in each shift. However, due to the rains, the night shift staff stayed back and the morning shift staff too had to join in," said Vijay Khabale, chief PRO, BMC and member, DMC.
The estimated rainfall seen by Mumbai on Friday was measured at 300 mm. "Ten per cent of the season's usual total rainfall was noticed on Friday in just one day," said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
A team of 20, the disaster cell has various officials from the BEST, police (including traffic cops), and other officials. It handles and coordinates various calls and complaints. There were 21 places in Mumbai that saw waterlogging on Friday, ranging from five minutes to almost five hours.
A total of 13 areas in Mumbai — Hindmata, Parel, Dadar, Matunga, Kurla and Kandivli — were completely inundated, throwing traffic totally off gear. "Throughout the day we kept getting calls asking us which areas were flooded and which were safe to use. With these main areas being flooded, we have had to reroute our buses, (an activity) which is planned and mapped out at the disaster cell," said Khabale.
The cell has around 15 phone sets, which support various connections like MTNL, BSNL (landlines), calls over radio waves and sports dedicated hotlines and mobile numbers. "The cell has numerous connections, so that in the time of crises, even if one collapses, the other lines can help the public connect (to the DMC)," said Additional Municipal Commissioner, Sanjay Deshmukh.
The DMC has a systematic approach for attending to calls. The call for help is first attended by a DMC official, who, after taking down all the details, contacts the respective ward office which then takes the necessary steps. On Friday, the DMC received almost 71 complaints of tree collapses, one incident of wall collapse and two calls of an electrocution incident that took place due to a short circuit at Sion.
"Since 7 am on Friday morning, the DMC has been consistently navigating, coordinating and helping zonal officers with the various calls that they were receiving," added Mehta.
The DMC saw various VIPs pouring in for a visit since Friday morning. Devendra Fadnavis visited early Friday morning, followed by Aditya and Uddhav Thackeray, Deepak Sawant, Vinod Tawde, Ashish Shelar and Subhash Desai.
Despite heavy rainfall in some parts of the city yesterday, the cell had received about 1,700 calls only on Saturday until the evening.
Disaster Management Cell number