Mumbai

Meet social media’s newest star: BMC’s disaster management cell

Crowd-puller: The disaster management cell has been resolving complaints through Twitter

Crowd-puller: The disaster management cell has been resolving complaints through Twitter  

Twitter handle, verified with blue tick, gets 42,000 followers ahead of monsoon

It appears that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has stepped up its social media game finally. While the civic body is yet to spruce up its official Twitter handle, its disaster management cell’s Twitter handle has become active ahead of this year’s monsoon and it already has around 42,000 followers.

The handle played an important role in disseminating information related to cyclone Vayu and had also appealed to people not to believe in rumours. Besides, the cell has been resolving other complaints, including those of open manholes and water contamination, through Twitter.

The BMC was not active on social media until recently. This is despite Mumbai Police, police commissioner, few other municipal corporations and government departments having a very active Twitter handle. The civic body’s official Twitter handle @MCGM_BMC was started in June 2015 but has a mere 11,000 followers and its last post is from October 2018. People with grievances tag this Twitter handle but to no avail.

Meanwhile, its disaster management department’s Twitter handle @DisasterMgmtBMC has recently become active after instructions from municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. The account has 42,000 followers and was recently verified with a blue tick. The account, created in 2013, was briefly active during last monsoon but has been very active lately. Before June 1, it’s last tweet was on March 14 regarding the Himalaya bridge collapse and before that on December 17 regarding the fire in ESIC hospital.

It played an important role during the threat of cyclone Vayu to the Mumbai coast, issuing regular updates last week, warning people to not go near the shore and to not stand under trees.

Anticipating panic, the handle tweeted on June 12, “There will also be a cyclone of rumours today & rest of the days during monsoon. We request you to not believe in any rumours & #Dial1916 when in doubt or tweet. We will be happy to clear the air. #MumbaiRains #MCGMUpdate #MonsoonUpdate #CycloneVayu.”

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray has also been promoting the account, appealing to people to tweet their civic issues to this handle and get them addressed. Twitter India also joined in the #wetweet campaign, tagging it and Mr. Thackeray.

After a user complained to the disaster management handle about a missing manhole cover in an area, the complaint was relayed to the department concerned and the issue was resolved.

Helping hand

The civic body has been taking the help of the team that runs the Mumbai Police Twitter handle.

“They are guiding us right now as they have the expertise but we are operating the handle. We will continue to operate it ourselves. The SOP is that the relevant complaint will be sent to the department concerned and after it is addressed, we can post about the same,” said an officer from the disaster management cell.

The BMC now wants to activate its official Twitter handle and also accounts of individual departments.

It will be inviting bids for the same soon. It is looking for a social media agency for the same.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 12:22:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/meet-social-medias-newest-star-bmcs-disaster-management-cell/article27959079.ece

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