Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Fire Brigade have decided to hire skilled lifeguards from reputed private agencies to step up the security on the Mumbai beaches. As of now, the strength of lifeguards is 36 and the civic body is set to up the number to 93.
The fire brigade has issued tenders for hiring 81 additional lifeguards from private agencies. At present, only 12 of the 36 employees are permanent civic employees while the remaining 24 are on a contract basis. These guards will be deployed on six city beaches — Girgaum, Dadar, Juhu, Versova, Aksa-Manori and Gorai. The estimated cost of hiring these lifeguards for three years is around `10 crore.
“We have hired a private agency for the appointment of lifeguards. The agency will be operational for a period of three years. After the work order is allotted, it will be given 60-day period to deploy lifeguards on city beaches,” said a fire brigade official, adding, “The agency and contractors responsible will have to ensure the guard have past experiences of working in government institutions. Besides, the guards should be well-trained and must be certified from government-approved agencies.”
There have been many cases of drowning deaths over the last few months and have witnessed a rise. In July this year, four youths were drowned off the Juhu beach, whereas in September, a 13-year boy had drowned off the Versova beach.
“Upping the number of lifeguards on the beaches was necessary considering the footfalls. Even on the tourism front, weekends see many tourists and they should feel safe, which cannot happen with a small number. This additional manpower will help tighten the security on the ciyy sea front,” said a civic official.