Maharashtra gets ready to tackle monsoon

Mumbai, May 25: With monsoon likely to hit Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra within 15 days, the government Friday moved into a state of high preparedness. The aim is to combat possible floods and disruptions due to the heavy rains, a government official said.

The navy and air force would remain on standby deploying ships, helicopters and aircraft to tackle any emergency, the official said.

The monsoon is expected to hit Mumbai June 10.

Announcing the preparedness measures, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan warned that any of the concerned government departments, agencies or civic bodies found lax in tackling monsoon onslaught would be held responsible and dealt with accordingly.

“We consider Mumbai to be a world-class city, but during monsoon all the systems seem to collapse and people have to encounter major difficulties. This is not acceptable. Any agency found careless will be held responsible,” he said.

He exhorted the suburban railway networks, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the police and the disaster management apparatus to maintain utmost vigil and ensure that people, especially students, were not inconvenienced.

Chavan said the responsibility of the Indian Railways, which manages the suburban services on Western Railway, Central Railway and the Harbour Lines increased during monsoon and it must ensure smooth operations.

The railways must use all forms of communication including television and radio channels, public announcements, hotlines, SMS, satellite communication or other methods to update and relay information on floods, traffic jams, accidents or dislocation of services to the commuters across the city promptly, he said.

Referring to the Mithi river which had played havoc during the July 2005 floods, Chavan said work on widening and deepening it had been going on since the past six years.

However, 663 encroachments on the river bank continued to stand, he said, urging the concerned authorities to tackle them on a war footing as the city would experience the onslaught of rains within the next 15 days.