Mahatma Gandhi Swimming Pool near Shivaji Park has more than 10,000 registered members. The overcrowding even led the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to deny new admissions. Despite brimming numbers, and appeal by the mayor, the authorities at the pool still have zero medical services available. What’s more, sources at the pool claim that they also need to set rules for senior citizens who come for a swim, prohibiting their entry at the deep end of water.
Treading water: BMC seems to be dragging their feet in appointing a medical officer at the Dadar swimming pool
True to their claims, when mid-day visited the pool, there was a huge crowd of senior citizens, most of them above 70 years. Some jumped from the 10-feet podium, while others contemplated diving from the top to experience the thrill.
However, when we checked with the authorities to know if they were aware of the health conditions of their members, the answer was a blatant no.
BMC has spent Rs 67 crore building the four pools, gallery and the surrounding structure. Out of the four, one pool is more than 15 feet deep and other is a competitive pool; the two where we noticed most of the senior citizens. The less intimidating five-meter deep pool, however, remained empty most of the time.
Before its revamp, the BMC had a medical officer present at the swimming pool. However, for the past two and a half years, there is no officer to check members at the time of their admission for infectious diseases or their medical conditions.
A staff member at the swimming pool said, “It is not easy to stop them individually from diving. Hydrotherapy is good for senior citizens; however, it is never a good idea to jump from the top. We advise them to use the five-feet pool, but they still want to use the competitive pool, even when they are huffing-puffing from exertion. If there is a medical officer around, we could check their medical condition and be in a position to stop any mishap.”
Members registered at Mahatma Gandhi Swimming Pool
mid-day had earlier reported how the delay of the appointment of a medical officer had put the authorities in a fix. Sunil Rajaram Parab (60) was found unconscious at the pool before the 8.10 am batch on February 19.
A doctor member present at the pool gave him chest compressions. When Parab could not be revived, they rushed him to the emergency ward of Hinduja Hospital where doctors gave him CPR. The man was declared dead around 11.30 am.