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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

BMC makes a U-turn on Wankhede, says open grounds unusable in rains

As part of efforts to augment quarantine facilities and hospital beds across Mumbai in anticipation of a spike in Covid-19 cases, the corporation had sent a notice to the Mumbai Cricket Association, asking it to hand over the stadium.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai | Published: May 18, 2020 3:57:53 am
Coronavirus cases, Wankhede Stadium, quarantine facility, BMC, Mumbai news, indian express news BMC had earlier decided to turn Wankhede Stadium into a quarantine facility. (Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Sunday backtracked on its plan to convert the Wankhede Stadium into a Covid-19 quarantine facility. While Marine Drive residents had opposed the move earlier expressing apprehension over contracting the virus, state Environment Minister, Aaditya Thackeray, too, rejected the proposal stating the ground would be unusable during the monsoon.

As part of efforts to augment quarantine facilities and hospital beds across Mumbai in anticipation of a spike in Covid-19 cases, the corporation had sent a notice to the Mumbai Cricket Association, asking it to hand over the stadium, following which Mayor Kishori Pednekar had inspected Wankhede stadium arena Saturday.

On Sunday, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, however, told reporters that there was “no such plan and we will not use any such stadium” as a quarantine facility.

“We are at the brink of monsoon, and large and open grounds are not feasible (to be converted as quarantine centres) owing to that. There are multi-level parking lots available, including those opposite the airport, where we can set up 5,000 beds. Another 1,000 beds can be set up at the Aarey dairy area. A 10-storey parking facility at Santacruz airport can also be utilised (for the purpose). When we have these spaces, then why should we set up tents in these open areas, which would not be usable during the monsoon,” Chahal said. He added that the civic body had made provisions for one lakh beds.

Earlier in the day, senior Shiv Sena leader, Sanjay Raut, backed the civic body’s move to take over parts of the Wankhede stadium for converting it into a Covid-19 quarantine facility and suggested a similar facility could be set up at Churchgate’s Brabourne stadium. Thackeray, however, had opposed Raut’s suggestion.

In a tweet, Thackeray said, “Sanjay (Raut) ji, we can’t take the grounds of the stadiums or playgrounds because they have a mud base and they won’t be usable during (the) monsoons. An open space with a solid/ concrete base is usable and it’s being done already. Had it not been for our monsoons, it is very usable.”

The BMC, however, will use the MMRDA grounds in BKC as a 1,000-bed modular hospital that will be handed over to it Monday. In addition, the civic body has also converted Mahalaxmi Racecourse premises into a 325-bed modular hospital, which is expected to be operational in the next two days.

BDA pitches in, hands over 69 flats to BMC

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Developers Association, a union of redevelopers, Sunday handed over 69 flats in a residential high-rise in Borivali to the BMC to be used as quarantine facilities. The vacant ready-to-occupy flats will be converted into an approximately 200-bed quarantine centre. The BDA handed over the flats through its joint secretary Kiran Rambhiya. ENS

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