Druggies take advantage of BMC dragging feet in opening hospital constructed five years ago
The maternity home
Drugs, alcohol and sex – all going on right under the BMC's nose at its maternity home in Goregaon (East). The three-storey building, constructed in 2012, has been lying vacant for five years. In the absence of security, miscreants have been making the most of the space, free of cost.
The issue came to light when BJP corporator Priti Satam got complaints from locals about the nuisance caused by anti-social elements in the area.
Empty beer bottles seen strewn on the floor of a room
Speaking to mid-day, she said, "On Monday, when I visited the building, I was shocked to see the pathetic condition it was in. One room had beer bottles strewn about, another empty condom sachets and cigarettes. There is a possibility that the place was or is being used for prostitution. Doors and windows are broken. It's become a miscreants' den."
"I have been pursuing the issue with the local ward and health department. In the past four months, I have written letters to almost every civic authority as well as the police to at least deploy a guard there, so that these activities can be stopped. However, nothing has been done about it," she added.
As per the procedure, in 2014, the developer had handed over the building to the BMC, but the latter has failed to start it till date, said Satam.
Beer bottles, drugs paraphernalia and a bedsheet and empty condom packets in its different rooms
Fed up with no change in the situation, she said that on Wednesday she had raised the issue in a meeting of the Women and Child Welfare Committee. "I provided photographs of the pathetic condition the building is in, to which I got the lame excuse from civic officials that they have been unable to appoint a contractor for starting the maternity home," she said.
The BMC did not spend any money on the construction of the building, as this was built under the public-private partnership (PPP) module, where land is given to a builder to construct both commercial and public utility spaces.
The BMC has 28 maternity homes in the city. If this one is made operational, it will benefit families belonging to the economically weaker section in Gokuldham, Nagari Nivara and Appa Pada in Malad and nearby areas. It could help about 1 lakh women, who currently only have Sidharth Hospital in Goregaon (West).
When asked about the issue, chairperson of the Women and Child Welfare Committee Sindhu Masurkar said, "I have seen the photographs and asked the health department to organise a visit next week. I will comment after that."
Executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said, "We are planning to develop the maternity home under the PPP. It was delayed because the PPP policy was being revised. We will issue tenders soon."
When asked how much time it would be made functional in, she failed to give a deadline.
On the issue of no security guard outside the building, Keskar said that should be checked with the health officer of P-south ward (Goregaon).