Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ashish Shelar said he was shocked to note the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) disaster management cell for cyclone Nisarga will start functioning on Tuesday while the windstorm is only some hours away from hitting the state's coast.
The former minister also questioned when will Mumbai's disaster management plan be activated and asked the BMC and the Maharashtra
government to protect the megapolis and the state from the cyclonic storm.
However, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar trashed Shelar's charges, saying minute-to-minute information is being received by the BMC's disaster management cell and the civic body's personnel are on their toes.
'Shocked 2 note BMC Disaster mgmt cell for Cyclone will start 2day - w cyclone only hrs away ! When will Mumbai Disaster mgmt plan b activated? SOP, precautions, emergency steps? Disaster plan ? Evacuations if needed? BMC/Maha Govt must protect Mumbai/Maha ! (sic)' Shelar tweeted after visiting the cell at the civic headquarters in Mumbai.
Hitting back, Pednekar said Shelar is not some astrologer to predict that the BMC has failed even before the examination is held (the cyclone has reached Mumbai).
The disaster management cell is receiving information regarding the cyclone every minute, Pednekar told a Marathi news channel.
She said teams of the National Disaster Response Force, life guards and the BMC's Fire Brigade are on their toes and ready to tackle any eventuality.
"We are also shifting to safer places those who are living near the sea. We have warned fishermen to not venture into the sea...we are taking care to see there is no damage to life or property," said Pednekar, a Shiv Sena leader.
Earlier in the day, an Indian Meteorological Department official said cyclone 'Nisarga' is very likely to intensify into a 'severe cyclonic
storm' over the next 12 hours and cross Maharashtra and South Gujarat coast on Wednesday.
The cyclonic storm will cross North Maharashtra and adjoining South Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar and Daman, close to Alibaug (in Maharashtra's Raigad), on June 3 as a severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind 100-110 gusting to 120 kmph, he said.