Elections stall BMC’s GIS-enabled project

Disaster management plans take a hit

The ambitious project of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to create a geographic information system (GIS)-enabled risk assessment programme has been stalled owing to the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls and the model code of conduct coming into effect. The programme was supposed to help the BMC officers tackle disasters during the monsoon this year.

Taking a lesson from the Kerala floods, the BMC’s disaster management cell had decided to start a Hazard Risk Vulnerability Assessment programme to manage exigencies.

In times of disasters, the BMC manually monitors the situation, decides which agencies are to be mobilised and sends messages through hotlines. This programme would have helped the BMC automatically assess the disaster, the requirement of agencies and availability of utilities. The programme would have helped the BMC cut down the response time in case of a disaster by quickly mobilising agencies.

To run this programme, the civic body has been mapping various utilities like fire stations, schools, hospitals, police stations, slums, commercial areas, underground sewer lines and storm water drains since last year.

Work on the programme started last year and it was supposed to be functional before the monsoon this year. A ₹3.5-crore tender was also floated, but with the model code of conduct coming into force, the BMC is in a fix about going ahead with the initiative. The BMC may not be able to award work for the project as it may violate the model code of conduct.

Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer, disaster management cell, said, “We will consult our superiors on what is to be done. If required, we will take the Election Commission’s permission to ahead with the project.”

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