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HC directs State, Railways and MCGM to reply to PIL on floods

The Bombay High Court directed Maharashtra government and railway and municipal authorities to respond to a PIL alleging neglect and failure of authorities to drain out rain water which had paralysed normal life following heavy downpour in the city on June 18.

The direction was given by a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah which asked the respondents, also including Central and Western Railway and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), to file their affidavits by July 30.

The bench also asked the petitioner, advocate Atal Bihari Dubey, to amend the complaint so as to include Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) as a respondent.

The PIL prayed that the government may be asked to set up a high-power committee for making provision and putting in place necessary infrastructure in a time-bound manner for drainage of monsoon water from railway tracks and premises.

The petition also urged that a special engineer be appointed under the Municipal Act with powers to perform duties to implement BRIMSTOWAD (Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drainage) scheme in a time-bound manner within 24 months and that such officer be asked to submit quarterly report to HC.

The PIL prayed that the Disaster Management Committee should have offices in each ward and during monsoon it should have adequate staff to remove any block or obstructions which impede rain water from being drained out. Moreover, a heavy duty mobile pump should be provided in each ward to drain out water from the roads and public places.

It said that on June 18 due to heavy rains there was water-logging on roads and railway tracks as a result of which the entire traffic was paralysed on all the routes. The Bombay High Court as well as schools and colleges were closed as life was completely paralysed due to flooding. A similar situation had occurred on July 26-27, 2005, the PIL said.

“Mumbai Disaster Management Plan needs to be revamped in view of lessons learnt from the disaster events during the last one decade and more so with particular reference to July 2005 deluge due to floods. The state and Mumbai civic body had already started work on BRIMSTOWAD,” the petition said.

The PIL said that MCGM has an annual budget of Rs. 33,514 crore and yet it could not handle 300 mm rainfall even after spending 3,535 crore under BRIMSTOWAD scheme.

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