MUMBAI: While observing that sometimes no tripods can be seen around open manholes to warn passersby, a Bombay high court bench headed by Justice R M Savant said on Monday that such precautionary measures ought to be taken.

The civic administration informed the high court that it has fitted protective grilles on 1,425 manholes in the city and identified and covered 839 more in flood-prone areas.

The said that this year, “for the first time,” it has installed “trash booms” to remove huge amounts of floating material which obstruct discharge of water from pumping stations.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the need for protective covers or grilles on manholes in Mumbai, following the death of gastroenterologist Dr Deepak Amarapurkar last year. His body was found in a Worli drain after he fell into an open manhole during a deluge at Elphinstone Road. The PIL was filed by Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.

The BMC had earlier informed the court that it had identified 1,600 manholes on which grilles would be fixed to avoid any fatal falls.

Anil Sakhare, special counsel for the civic body, said the BMC keeps people on site when manholes are opened for work. It has also created awareness to point out that unauthorized opening of such covers on civic drains by citizens is an offence.

The BMC requested the court for a final hearing, saying all issues pertaining to water-logging and manholes stand solved. However, since the petitioners‘ counsel Sujay Kantawalla said “a lot needs to be done still,” the court asked for further suggestions to improve commuter safety on roads during water-logging.

The court posted the matter for hearing to September, after which orders would be passed.

It had earlier given the BMC time till August-end to place protective covers or grilles on over 800 manholes in critical areas.

The court had also directed the BMC to regularly spread awareness, even through digital media.

The BMC also said that for the first time “a camera was inserted in close culverts in railway premises” which informs how much silt has to be removed, resulting in smooth operation of services.

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