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    Published On : Mon, Jul 3rd, 2017
    Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Sensors on bridges to give flood alerts to sleeping PWD

    Nagpur: Fresh from the bad memories of Mahad bridge collapse during last year’s rains, the state’s public works department (PWD) has finally woken up from its deep slumber. The department though still lags fars behind in putting the disaster management in place, is set to install sensors at some major bridges to get alerts about flood-like situations.

    A senior PWD officia said that sensors would be installed at major bridges in all six districts before August. “The plan is to install sensors on at least 15 bridges in six districts. We will get flood-level alerts. The messages will be sent automatically to the engineers once water level reaches a specified height. Our bridge inspection team formed at all tehsils will visit and begin necessary measures to avert any disaster,” the official said.

    After Mahad bridge collapse incident, the PWD had taken two major decisions to prevent such massive loss to human life and government property. In August 2016, PWD issued a notification and asked all its circle offices to appoint disaster managers on contractual basis at major bridges that may suffer damage during floods. Three disaster managers were supposed to be appointed at each bridge for round-the-clock monitoring. Disaster managers were supposed to alert higher authorities, police, district disaster management cell, and also stop traffic on bridges in case of emergency situations.

    Also, the PWD took a decision in September 2016 to form bridge management cell to look after construction of new bridges, maintenance and repairs, inspection and regular monitoring. The cell, to be headed by chief engineer (bridges), was supposed to function from Mumbai. Three circles — Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nagpur were to be set up. The circle office here was supposed to be headed by superintending engineer covering four division offices — Nagpur, Amravati, Akola and Gadchiroli. Unfortunately, the post of superintending engineer and his subordinates were never filled in these 10 months.

    There are over 17,500 bridges in six districts in the division. Two bridges — Nakadongri and Tumsar — situated in Bhandara district are 90 years old. Some of the remaining bridges are over 50 years old. Still, the PWD circle office here has not appointed disaster managers.

    PWD official said disaster cells and bridge inspection squads have been formed for the monsoon. “None of the 17,500 bridges are dilapidated. Necessary works on two British-era bridges are going on. Therefore, disaster managers were not appointed. Regular monitoring and necessary steps will be taken once we get alerts from sensors,” he said.

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