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Mumbai: Any other way to secure manholes?

Updated on: 22 June,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale , Nimesh Dave | prajakta.kasale@mid-day.com nimesh@mid-day.com

3-foot-tall grills come up in the middle of Borivli roads

Mumbai: Any other way to secure manholes?

The grill installed over a manhole, in the middle of the road in Borivli West. Pic/Nimesh Dave

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Commuters travelling on roads in Borivli are fuming over three-foot-tall grills installed in the middle of roads to safeguard manholes. The civic body has put these grills to safeguard manholes which are buried under the road and need repairing before safety nets are installed, as per directions of the Bombay High Court.


The deadline for installing safety nets on manholes was May 31. According to the HC order, the BMC was required to install safety nets on both sewers and stormwater drains across the city by May 31. BMC officials claimed that they have covered most of the manholes, except those which were buried under infrastructure work carried out by other agencies.



Meanwhile, commuters in Borivli were shocked to see the grills in the middle of the roads. “I was travelling on a road in Sai Baba Nagar where I spotted these grills. They were coloured in vibrant red, but still can cause accidents during the night or low visibility,” said a commuter.


Sandhya Nandedkar, ward officer of R North, said, “Though we installed safety nets on almost all manholes as per the HC order, a few sewerage manholes are buried under the road or other infrastructure works. For the safety of commuters, BMC installed these grills temporarily. We will remove them immediately after the repair work of these manholes is complete.”

Ashwini Joshi, additional municipal commissioner, said that the installation of safety grills is almost complete, leaving only those manholes which are inaccessible. She also assured that she would inquire if there are any uncovered manholes on the roads.

Though the BMC claimed that they completed the task of installing safety nets in all manholes, it hasn’t provided any figures. As per BMC’s data, there are 74,693 sewer line manholes and 22,593 stormwater drains. But the total figure of manholes with safety nets hasn’t been released by the BMC yet.

The HC had directed the BMC to install protective nets on the manholes in 2018. The decision followed the tragic drowning of Dr Deepak Amrapurkar in an open stormwater drain in August 2017. Despite initial efforts, progress slowed, and by last year, the BMC had covered less than 6 per cent of manholes. The HC expressed strong displeasure in June 2023 over the civic body’s failure to come up with a plan for this.

The BMC had initiated the process to install the safety nets but the tender process only commenced in February 2024. The tenders were initially floated at ward levels for only sewer line manholes. 

But afterwards, the BMC also extended the work to cover all the stormwater drains. On average, a net costs Rs 8,000, but prices range from Rs 4,000 to Rs 22,000 based on the size, shape, and location of the manholes. The total cost for this exercise is expected to be approximately Rs 90 crore.

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