BMC cancels plan to turn Wankhede Stadium into quarantine facility

After local residents opposed the move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Sunday dropped its plan to turn Wankhede Stadium into a quarantine facility.

BMC had earlier decided to turn Wankhede Stadium into a quarantine centre.   -  FILE PHOTO/ PRASHANT NAKWE

After local residents opposed the move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Sunday cancelled its plan to turn Wankhede Stadium into a quarantine facility.

In a letter issued to the Mumbai Cricket Association on Friday, the BMC had sought immediate handover of the stadium for housing asymptomatic high-risk contacts and emergency staff of 'A' Ward. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar visited Wankhede Stadium on Saturday and even tweeted that it would be used to house asymptomatic positive patients, considering the increasing number of cases.

However, local residents started opposing the move and the Marine Drive Residents’ Association wrote a letter in this regard to Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta. Assistant municipal commissioner of 'A' ward Chanda Jadhav confirmed that the plan was cancelled after the complaints.

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Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal, while speaking to mediapersons during his visit to Sion hospital on Sunday expressed surprise at news reports, leading to speculation on how the letter was issued in the first place.

Mr. Chahal said, “I am surprised about Wankhede news reports. I had already taken a decision last week, I don’t know where the news is coming from. I am surprised because the CM had ordered me that setting up facilities in open grounds will lead to a lot of issues during the monsoon, as there will be muck. There are so many parking facilities which can be used including parking lots of airports, Palladium mall, multi-level parking lots. When we have all these, why should we erect these huge pandals on grounds, especially with monsoon around the corner? So there is no such consideration and no stadium will be taken. Open grounds are not a good option.”

"We have not heard from BMC since the letter," said Sanjay Naik, Secretary of MCA after Sunday's development.

Residents relieved

Ashok Rao, President, Federation of Churchgate Residents, said, “The residents will definitely be happy as there are a large number of senior citizens in this area.”

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had tweeted on Sunday, “...good call on taking up wankhede stadium to develop a quarantine facility..suggestion to @OfficeofUT - why not take over Brabourne stadium as well?It has much needed facilities @PawarSpeaks @AUThackeray (sic)”

BCCI to ‘wait and watch’ before decision on reopening stadiums  

To this, Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray replied, “Sanjay Sanjay 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 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. (sic)”

Mr. Raut later tweeted, “The decision to not have COVID-19 hospitals on Wankhede or Brabourne is a correct policy by Aaditya Thackeray. Playgrounds must be saved.”

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