Mumbai: After the Bombay High Court pulled up the BMC on the open manholes issue, the civic body engineers are looking for a system which can alert the ward office if someone tried to open or steal the manhole lid.
Vibhas Achrekar, Chief Engineer of the Stormwater Drainage (SWD) Department, said, “HC has directed us to check if there is any alarm system or mechanism we can install on manholes so we will get alert if someone tried to steal the lid. In that context, we have started our discussion and are holding a meeting to find out a solution to it. Once we come to a conclusion, further action will be taken.”
Meanwhile, senior BMC officers are pointing fingers at the local ward offices for open manholes.
Ullhas Mahale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Infrastructure, said, “It is the duty of the ward office to fix, replace or repair the manhole lids. We have our circulars of the year 2014 and 2017 which clearly says the ward office should look after the open manholes.”
On Wednesday, expressing concern over the threat to pedestrian safety from open manholes, the HC warned that municipal officials concerned will be held responsible if anyone were to fall into a manhole. During the hearing, the judges suggested that the civic body use technology and come up with a permanent solution to the chronic problem of open manholes. Sensors can be used which would set off an alarm in case anyone tried to remove the manholes.
The civic body had claimed that they replace the stolen manholes when informed about it. HC asked the corporation to have a Standard Operation Procedure to address the issue. Court had also suggested that to install iron grills below the manhole covers.
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