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Municipal school still used as jail Covid facility, students wait to return to class

City Collector Rajiv Nivatkar had requisitioned two civic schools at Byculla S bridge as a segregation centre for new entrants in Byculla and Arthur Road jails and the municipal school in ES Patanawala road as a Covid treatment facility.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
Updated: December 21, 2021 9:48:24 am
The municipal school at Byculla S bridge which the Arthur Road jail authorities have not vacated yet. (Photo:Ganesh Shirsekar)

Even as schools have reopened across the state, students of the municipal school at S Bridge in Byculla are suffering as Arthur Road jail authorities are still using the school as a Covid segregation centre.

City Collector Rajiv Nivatkar had requisitioned two civic schools at Byculla S bridge as a segregation centre for new entrants in Byculla and Arthur Road jails and the municipal school in ES Patanawala road as a Covid treatment facility.

New entrants in Byculla or Arthur Road jail are kept in the S bridge school for eight days. A Covid test is performed on the eighth day, and if the result is negative then the entrant is admitted to the Arthur Road jail.

The facilities were acquired in 2020, when there was a lockdown and schools were closed.

Raju Tadvi, the education officer of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said, “The jail authorities have written to us to give alternate space. But we cannot give them alternate space. Now we are told that the jail authorities are writing to the additional municipal commissioner in charge of schools even as our schools has started.” He added, “We are continuing online education as of now, and may have to look for an alternate space.”

Nitin Vayachal, Superintendent of Arthur Road jail, said, “The S bridge school is one of the safest places for us. We selected it after seeing many sites. We also have security measures in place there.”

Another officer in Arthur Road jail said that the capacity of the jail is 804 but it has more than 3,000 inmates at any point, and with the threat of Omicron it needs these two centres. Other jails in the Mumbai metropolitan region like Kalyan, Thane, Taloja and Alibag had taken schools as quarantine centres after orders from collectors of Thane and Raigad districts, but they returned the schools as the threat decreased.

Mumbai Collector Nivatkar said his office was looking into the issue.

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