Mumbai: Mahul village in Chembur has been dubbed as the 'toxic hell' of Mumbai, as its residents have complained of respiratory issues.
The site has been held to be 'inhabitable' for human beings owing to the air quality there, which is polluted and poor. But all this seems to have failed to teach a lesson to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is now mulling to make Mahul a quarantine facility center for patients suspected to be infected with novel coronavirus.
The civic body says it would not mind using the site in 'extreme urgency'. Confirming the news, Dr Prithviraj Chavan, assistant municipal commissioner told Free Press Journal that the civic body is presently only making preparations at Mahul. "A meeting was held (of all wards) with the civic chief.
The commissioner asked everyone about the preparations. That time, I apprised him of the situation in Chembur and the preparations too," Chavan said. "We discussed that in the worst case scenario, the site at Mahul can be used as a quarantine facility. The commissioner agreed to it.
Accordingly, we have started cleaning and other preparation work there to avoid doing anything at the eleventh hour," Chavan added. According to the assistant commissioner, the site would only be used during a worst case scenario, which he 'does not want in the city'.
This move is being vehemently opposed by local residents and activists working for the cause of the project affected persons (PAPs) who were shifted to Mahul but were ordered to be shifted to 'some safe place' by the Bombay High Court.
"This site has been declared unsafe for humans by various authorities, including the central and Maharashtra pollution control boards, the national green tribunal, the Bombay HC and also IIT-Bombay.
But still the civic body seems to be turning a deaf ear to all these authorities by planning to make a quarantine facility here," said Bilal Khan of the Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan. Khan further said,
"The BMC must consider that already people here are suffering from various ailments, especially respiratory issues. And then bringing in patients suspected to be infected with the deadly virus would be risking their lives as there is no ventilation here." When asked, medical expert, Dr Amar Jesani said, "The basic idea to quarantine someone is to ensure that their condition does not worsen.
They need to be kept in a healthy place. But by putting them in Mahul, the authorities are doing nothing but pushing them towards death." However, a senior civic official said that the BMC has powers under the Epidemic Diseases Act to take over any building or property for a temporary period and use it as a quarantine center.
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