Mumbai: BMC Begins Installing Smart Device In City's Manholes

Mumbai: BMC Begins Installing Smart Device In City's Manholes

The device will sound a siren and send alerts to BMC centres in case of waterlogging or if someone tries to open and steal the cover.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Thursday, July 20, 2023, 12:58 AM IST
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Vijay Gohil

The municipality has installed a smart device under a manhole cover in D Ward, Grant Road, which will sound a siren and send alerts to BMC centres nearby in case of waterlogging or if someone tries to open and steal the cover.

It is the first of 14 such devices that the BMC plans to install on an experimental basis. The areas earmarked in the initial phase are: two each at Worli BDD Chawl, Jerbai Road, Parel, Sewri Cross Lane, DG Mahajani Road Sewri, one at Grant Road’s Trimbak Parshuram Lane and other spots at Grant Road, Worli, Parel and Dadar. If the experiment is successful, the civic body will install the device in other areas as well.

The smart device

“The device is 30 centimetres long and flexible and it has been installed near Nana Chowk. It can bend and can be kept under a lid,” an official said.

“The BMC’s engineers invented the device and the civic body was searching for a firm that could produce it on a large scale. Initially we will install the device in 14 manholes in the city. Thereafter, it will be installed in eastern and western suburbs. The BMC will spend around ₹11 lakh on these devices,” another official said.

The device, which runs on battery, has a life of two years. The civic body has set up control rooms in B Ward near Grant Government Medical College, Versova, and Pant Nagar, in Ghatkopar, to receive alerts.

Open manholes are Mumbai's death traps

Open manholes are considered death traps in Mumbai. Over the years there have been several instances of people falling into them and dying. During monsoons there are more chances of people falling into open manholes because of flooding. According to the BMC, anti-social elements steal manhole covers. Mumbaikars too sometimes open them to let out rainwater. The Bombay High Court had pulled up the BMC for not installing iron nets and not closing open manholes in Mumbai.

Manhole Stats

1. Total manholes: 1 lakh

Storm Water Department manholes: 25,000

Sewage Water Department manholes

City: 27,078

Western Suburbs: 31,621

Eastern Suburbs: 15,983

Total: 74,682

Past incidents

2017

Dr Deepak Amrapurkar fell into a manhole, near Prabhadevi

2018

An 18-year-old fell into a manhole in Malad and died

2020

A 32-year-old woman fell into a manhole in Ghatkopar; her body was found near Haji Ali

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