On Wednesday, a message saying - the city will be hit by a cyclone and cloudburst - was circulated on social media. It also said the electricity might be cut off. People were instructed to charge their cellphones and inform others about the message. It also said, 'Helpline 1916 declared by BMC... Please fwd to as many as u can.'
The letter to Bharti says, "In the message it has been mentioned that it was forwarded by BMC, and the helpline number 1916 was given. Because of this message, the civic body's disaster management cell was flooded with calls to verify the claims. It has created panic among citizens."
Deputy Municipal Commissioner (General Administration) Sudhir Naik said, "There was no such warning issued by BMC regarding a cyclone and cloudburst. All these were false messages. According to the IMD there will be only intermittent rains in next 24 hours."
The timely prediction and better coordination among authorities led to smooth traffic and no major problem yesterday. On Sunday, the Indian Meteorological Department had issued a warning about heavy rainfall in next three days and requested people to remain at home and only step out if there was very important work. The BMC also told their staff to be prepared.
As information was out well before the expected rains this time citizens also chose to remain at home. This led to fewer vehicles on the roads. On August 29 train services were disrupted for more than 19 hours but this time they were delayed by 15-20 minutes and very few trains were cancelled.
Joint Commissioner of police (Law & Order) Deven Bharti said, "When we find anyone spreading rumours and enough evidence is collected against the person then we prosecute him under relevant Indian Penal Code sections. We take strictest action against those spreading rumours."
Inputs by Vijay Kumar Yadav
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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