Thane’s disaster management cell juggles rising emergency calls

January 16, 2020

Last year saw a rise in complaints related to fire, waterlogging and tree-falls over the years.

A report released by the Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) shows that it received 5,740 complaints in 2019 — this was much more than what it had received since 2013.

RDMC recently uploaded the annual report on complaints received by the cell since 2013 on their website. This is the first time that the department has put up the complaints in the public domain. The report on the total rainfall received by the city in the last few years is also uploaded.

Santosh Kadam, chief of RDMC, said, “We have a record of every complaint received by the RDMC cell since April 2013. The rainfall record of every day for the past few years is also uploaded.”

He agreed that the cases of fire, waterlogging and tree fall have increased. “The city has expanded in the past few years so there has been an increase in complaints every year. As 2019 saw heavy rainfall, we had more complaints about waterlogging and tree-fall.”

Shashikant Kale, chief fire officer of TMC, said, “The common cause of fire is short circuit as most people are ignorant about electrical safety of their homes or establishments. It is compulsory for residential complexes to carry out a fire safety audit but not many do that.”

He added that it was not feasible for his department to check if housing societies have conducted a fire audit. “We are short-staffed. We have around 300 employees and the requirement is around 800. We have given a proposal to the government for additional 425 employees.”

The city received 4569.91 mm of rainfall last year — twice the average rainfall of Thane. RDMC received around 354 waterlogging complaints in 2019 as compared to 141 the previous year.

A civic official requesting anonymity said, “We have carried out a study of spots which are prone to waterlogging and carried out short-term measures during monsoon. We are also working on long-term solutions such as building storm water drains. We have made a new list of waterlogging-prone spots and are planning to map them on Google maps to alert people.”

The number of cases of tree falls too have increased which as per the tree expert are owing to unscientific trimming of trees and increase in concretisation around the roots of the trees.

Kaustubh Darves, an environment activist, said, “We can prevent the number of tree falls by undertaking scientific trimming and reducing concretisation at the roots. There is no focus on trimming of dangerous tree rather than tree trimming is done throughout the year for festivals or developmental projects.”

He added that trimming should be focus on dangerous trees and should be done under supervision of an expert tree officer. “The roots of the tree should also have tree guards to prevent concrete from destroying the trees,” he added.

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