The manholes in the city will soon become 'smart'. The BMC is planning to install a system to digitally monitor manholes on the sewer lines. A device in the manhole will send alerts to the BMC centre as well as a siren will blow to alert passersby and the nearby residents if someone tries to open it.
This device not only informs about the stealing of manholes but also sends alerts if it is about to overflow to avoid the spreading of sewage water on the roads.
HC had expressed concern over pedestrian safety
Last month, the Mumbai High Court expressed concerns over pedestrian safety due to open manholes. The HC said that the BMC officers concerned will be held responsible in case any person falls into the open manholes. During the hearing, the judges suggested that the civic body must use technology and come up with a permanent solution to the chronic problem. The BMC informed that anti-social elements often steal the manhole lids and the civic body is addressing the issue on a “war footing basis” and ensuring all manholes are covered.
Accordingly, BMC officers were working on an alarm system. Finally, the Sewage Water Management (SWM) engineers found a solution and developed a device. BMC is going to install these devices in the city area on a pilot basis.
Trial on 14 manholes in the city
An engineer connected with the SWM department said, "We are going to install the devices on 14 manholes in the city area. Once it proves successful, then the same will be installed in other areas of Mumbai city and suburbs."
“This device is 7-8-inch long and it will be installed one-and-a-half feet below the manhole. The device will run on a battery and each battery can last for at least a year. We have set up a control room in B ward near Babula tank which is near JJ hospital," added the officer.
A few weeks before, the BMC had invited tenders worth Rs30 crore for the repair and maintenance of manholes in Mumbai.
Theft of manhole lids a big menace
During the British period cast iron manhole covers were connected to the circular frames with an iron chain, this made it impossible for thieves to steal them. But, post-Independence, the chains were done away with for no apparent reason. As a result, thefts of cast iron manhole lid became very common since the metal fetched handsome returns for the thieves from iron merchants. A few years ago, the BMC began replacing cast iron lids with thermoware one. But, these lacked the strength to withstand the load of vehicles and even pedestrians.
Story in numbers
Total manholes: 1 lakh
Stormwater dept manholes: 25,000
Sewage water dept manholes
Western suburbs: 31,621
Eastern suburbs: 15,983
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