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Uncovered: Mystery of Mumbai's missing maternity homes

Five-storey structure at Chinchpokli built on a plot reserved for a maternity hospital converted into TB facility, another one turns into dialysis centre in Dahisar

Five-storey structure at Chinchpokli was built on a plot reserved for a maternity hospital, but is currently a centre for providing medicines to tuberculosis patients in civic-run hospitals

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is using a building meant to house a maternity home as a centre for tuberculosis (TB) and a godown. But, the board outside the building still calls it a maternity home.

The five-storey building is mostly being used as a centre for providing medicines to TB patients, while the BMC has shut down an existing maternity home in Mazgaon. Pic/Satyajit Desai
The five-storey building is mostly being used as a centre for providing medicines to TB patients, while the BMC has shut down an existing maternity home in Mazgaon. Pic/Satyajit Desai

The building in question is the BMC Bawlawadi Maternity Home, as the sign outside it reads, on Ambedkar Road in Chinchpokli. The ‘home’ is built on a plot that was reserved for a maternity home. The civic body got possession of the structure under the accommodation reservation policy in October 2009.

As per this policy, the owner of a plot reserved for a maternity home, market, dispensary, civic school or any other public amenity has to construct the facility on a portion of the plot. He can use the rest of the land as he wishes.

However, the civic body itself is not justifying the purpose it acquired the building for. Currently, the building as a TB centre where nearly 40-50 people provide medicines for patients admitted in civic hospitals. A part of the five-storey building is also used to dump tables, chairs and other furniture.

“Five years after getting the building, the BMC is still to use it for its allocated purpose,” said Ramakant Rahate, the local Shiv Sena corporator. According to him, a centre for TB medicines doesn’t need a five-storey structure, when a floor would have sufficed. On top of this, the civic body shut down the Ahilyabai Holkar Maternity Home in Mazgaon, further causing a shortage of public maternity homes.

“The maternity home (at Mazgaon) is in a dilapidated condition; the BMC wants to demolish it and develop it as a cancer hospital. What about the pregnant woman in the area? This will greatly inconvenience them,” added Rahate.

BMCspeak
When asked what exactly the officials were thinking of using the building as, Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of the Health department, told mid-day, “As of now we have not decided what to do. We will have to check and consider various factors before taking a decision.”

2,000
The approximate sq ft area of plot on which the BMC Bawlawadi Maternity Home is built

A Dahisar plot originally reserved for a maternity home by the BMC was handed over to Meeti Lifeline Hospital, where they have now started a dialysis centre without permission

A dialysis centre, set up by Meeti Lifeline Hospital in Dahisar that was inaugurated two months may shut down soon. In a standing committee meeting on Wednesday, a corporator raised objection saying that a dialysis centre is running in a plot that was reserved for a maternity home by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) without permission.

Meeti Lifeline Hospital is running a dialysis centre for which they did not take any permission from the BMC. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Meeti Lifeline Hospital is running a dialysis centre for which they did not take any permission from the BMC. Pic/Nimesh Dave

However, when mid-day checked with the local ward office it was found that the civic body had built a five-storey maternity home, but since they did not get the expected response, the building was given to Meeti hospital to run a general hospital there.

While the present hospital includes a maternity ward as well, Meeti Hospital also created a dialysis centre on the ground floor, without taking permission to run the same. The BMC has been sending notices to the administrators, but there has been no response. During the standing committee meeting, the additional commissioner, Sanjay Deshmukh said that action will be taken against the hospital soon.

Sheetal Mhatre, Congress corporator said, “The building at Jaywant Sawant road was reserved as a maternity home and now there is a dialysis centre there, without any permission.” Sanjay Deshmukh, the additional municipal commissioner, BMC, said, “We have been sending notices to the hospital as they did not take permission for the dialysis centre. Action will be initiated soon and the centre will be vacated.”

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