Last Updated: June 07, 2023, 08:00 IST
For densely populated Mumbai, while the monsoon wreaks havoc with flooding and disrupting public transport, weak and dilapidated structures remain a major challenge.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) disaster management department, from 2018 to 2021, a total of 99 people have died and 376 injured in 1,810 incidents of building and house collapses as well as partial building and house collapses across the city.
So, is the BMC and state government prepared to ensure that there are fewer such incidents this year?
The civic body has announced a list of 226 buildings in the city, which fall under the C-1 category, i.e. dilapidated and extremely dangerous. Of these 226 buildings, 35 are in Mumbai city, 65 in the eastern suburbs and 126 in the western suburbs. At least 27 buildings have been evacuated.
The BMC has expressed concerns that these structures, considering they are weak, could collapse in the monsoon. BMC Commissioner has appealed to the citizens to move out as a precaution.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has also issued instructions to the BMC to monitor the city through 6,400 CCTV cameras. Also, digital mapping of disaster-prone areas is to be done. A schedule of 56 days of high tide has been prepared from June 15 to October 15. A total of 500 pumps have been kept ready in low-lying areas to prevent water logging.
Moreover, 18 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 10 Navy squadrons, six squads of Coast Guard and Air force MIG-70 helicopter have been kept on standby to deal with any kind of an emergency.
“All municipal bodies, including the BMC, have been instructed to get engineering institutes to conduct structural audit of all dilapidated buildings in the state and not wait for the report from the societies,” said CM Shinde.
A mother of two, who has been staying at Sheel Bhavan, Dhobi Talao, with her family, has vacated her house and is now staying with her in-laws at their residence, as her building has been declared a C-1 structure.
“My son is in 10th standard. The BMC has disconnected the water supply to the building. While we don’t have any problem inside, only the outside structure is dilapidated. But as the BMC has declared the structure C-1, the landlord has asked us to vacate. We don’t really have an alternative, so we have moved in with my in-laws,” said the resident, requesting anonymity.