Help in evacuation from flooding spots or face jail time, Mumbai civic body tells private entities

Private entities such as transport and food services, which do not aid citizens in distress after the Mumbai civic body activated its evacuation plan for flooding-prone spots, will be punished under the Disaster Management (DM) Act this monsoon.

Punishment under the DM act can lead to imprisonment of up to one year for the person who denied help or a fine for the entity. If failure to comply leads to loss of life, the private entities can be punished with imprisonment for up to two years.

The penalty is not fixed, but will be decided by the civic body as authorised by the district disaster management authority formed under the act. The authority in Mumbai is headed by an additional municipal commissioner. The fine amount will be decided by this authority when it issues a notice to the private entity under the act.

The DM department has referred the issue to the civic body’s legal department to decide a bracket for the fine amount.

On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) decision to activate its evacuation plan for flooding-prone spots this monsoon.

The plan will basically enable the civic body to predict waterlogging at chronic flooding spots at least two hours in advance and send out warnings to local residents and commuters via corporators, advanced locality management groups (ALMs) and police stations to evacuate residents of that area to the nearest civic shelter.

The BMC is presently mapping transport services and food services near ten such chronic flooding spots on a pilot basis.

A senior civic official from the DM department said, “These are private transport services in most cases, along with BEST buses. And the food services are mostly non-governmental organisations or food joints. If we need to activate our evacuation plan in any flooding-prone spot, these private entities will be alerted about their job. We will invoke the act to make them comply, if they do not agree.”

Another official said, “We are talking about citizens in distress. It is the duty of private entities to help them, especially when the civic body directs them to do so.”

First Published:
Jun 12, 2019 23:58 IST

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