30-odd Class IV employees have converted changing rooms beneath the velodrome at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex into single-room apartments; some have even altered the structures
Home is where the heart is and for the families of around 30 Class IV employees of the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, it is right below the velodrome.
A visit to the stadium by this correspondent revealed that Class IV workers have converted the changing rooms, constructed below the velodrome, into single-room apartments. What is worrisome is the fact the rooms have been altered to such an extent it could trigger a fatal collapse, claiming innocent lives.
Besides, the velodrome itself is in shambles and requires immediate maintenance. Mangal Kuchekar, who works alongside her husband at the stadium and resides in one of the makeshift apartments, said, "We have been residing here for the last five years without any problems. Though the room is small and gets congested, it is better than hunting for an unaffordable option outside the stadium."
Home sweet home: Once changing rooms, the area has now been converted into single-room apartments by Class IV employees
The Kuchekars have everything in their so-called home — from ceiling fan to gas stove. The walls are painted with distemper, and a column, which might have been constructed to support the velodrome, now separates the neighbouring apartment.
Manik Thosare, deputy director for department of sports and youth affairs, under whose jurisdiction the stadium falls, said, "When the cycling track was constructed in 1993-94, before the National Games were held at the stadium, all these makeshift residences were changing rooms for athletes. So it is not that the employees have added something new to the velodrome."
He added that most of the families were served with eviction notices. "We'll renovate the entire velodrome once they vacate the temporary shelter," Thosare said.