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Will it all go down the drain?

While spectators queue up to catch the action at Wankhede today, the stadium is yet to acquire an OC certificate

While one can expect a tense ODI match -- the fourth in the series -- at the Wankhede Stadium today, what with England facing the prospect of a 5-0 whitewash, there will be as much tension in the officials' cabins.



Despite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) repeatedly informing the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) about the need to repair the dilapidated storm water drain that runs beneath the stadium, no work on it has begun as yet. As a result, the stadium is still to procure an Occupational Certificate (OC). It currently holds a part-OC that was given by the civic authority before the World Cup matches in April.

The civic body has now appointed a consultant that can advise the MCA on the technical aspects of the required repair work. "MWS, the consultants are studying the various options that can be used to repair the drain without disturbing the buildings under which the drain also passes. If it has a pile foundation (building foundation relying on driven piles), it will be difficult to carry out repair work," said Rahul Shewale, BMC Standing Committee chairman.

According to Chief Engineer, Storm Water Drains (SWD), L Vhatkar, a joint inspection along with the stadium authorities was conducted two weeks back and no complete OC will be provided, until repair work is carried out. "They will have to carry out the work by any means. We brought to their notice the poor condition of the drainage line in August last year. We sent reminders telling them to carry out the repair work before the monsoon in January and April this year also," he said.

According to Vhatkar, while no major flooding problem has arisen in the area so far, there are chances that major water logging can occur at Churchgate and M K Road, if the drainage system collapses.

Waste water from the catchment area passes through the railway drain at Churchgate and courses through the drain below the Mumbai Hockey Association ground before meeting the Wankhede Stadium drain that then gets ejected into the sea. According to Vhatkar, the MCA only needs to repair the drain below the stadium, while the civic body will repair the part that falls under the road outside the stadium.

However, architect Amol Prabhu, the son of architect Shashi Prabhu who originally designed the stadium and recently renovated it, is sceptical if the drain requires renovation at all. Prabhu claims to have had a sight of the drain, having passed a camera down to it.

"The drain looked in good condition. But we will still look into the prospect of whether it needs repairing or not. Also, how does one pull down a structure to repair something underground? A building cannot be demolished if a pipeline needs repair work. This drain runs below railway tracks, underneath buildings as well as the stadium. It would take us sometime to study it," he said.

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