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Tank work at St Xavier’s ground far from complete, Parel residents protest being denied open space

Citizens complained that when the work was started in March, the civic body had said that it would get over in two months’ time and that the premises would be restored for public use.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 23, 2021 1:02:44 am
The BMC is constructing two underground tanks – at Pramod Mahajan Kala Park in Dadar and St Xavier’s Ground in Parel – to ensure no flooding takes place in Hindmata.

Residents of Parel are complaining about closure of St Xavier’s ground and the resultant lack of access to one of the largest open spaces in the area. The ground has been taken over for construction of one of the two underground water storage tanks envisaged to eliminate flooding in Hindmata.

Citizens complained that when the work was started in March, the civic body had said that it would get over in two months’ time and that the premises would be restored for public use. But even after eight months, there seems to be no clarity on when the work will be over.

“In March this year, the playground was suddenly taken over. There was no intimation or information about the work. When we reached out to the staff working at the site, nobody answered what was exactly happening. Later, I found out from BMC about the work of an underground tank to tackle the flooding in Hindmata area. We are not against the project but the BMC should tell us how much time it will take to complete it,” said Ramakant Pawaskar, a resident of Parel who used the racing track on the ground on a daily basis.

Pawaskar said that while children from the locality have to play on the internal roads, many senior citizens have to miss their daily walks since other grounds are situated in far-off locations.

Spread in about 16,000-square meter area, St Xavier’s ground is one of the biggest open spaces in Parel-Hindmata-Bhoiwada area. After the outbreak of Covid-19, a portion of the ground was taken over for creating a treatment facility. Now, since March this year, the entire ground has been dug up by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Storm Water Drain (SWD) department for the tank project.

“The BMC has put up a banner outside the ground saying it will be restored after work is over but there is no mention of any deadline when the work will get over,” said Pawaskar.

Officials from SWD department said the first phase of the underground tank project has been completed and work on the second phase will start soon. “The work of the second phase is expected to be completed in 12 months, excluding monsoon. But we will try to finish before that and restore the ground to original once the tank is ready. The rocks below the ground are very hard, which is causing further delay in excavation work,” said a senior official from SWD department.

The BMC is constructing two underground tanks – at Pramod Mahajan Kala Park in Dadar and St Xavier’s Ground in Parel – to ensure no flooding takes place in Hindmata. The tank at St Xavier’s will have storage capacity of 1- crore liter.

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