Coronavirus outbreak: BMC considering Jio Gardens and Wankhede for COVID facilities

Published: Apr 26, 2020, 21:20 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

The civic body is also planning to increase the capacity of the quarantine centres at NESCO exhibition centre in Goregaon and NSCI and they have approached two builders to help construct amenities like toilets.

Wankhede stadium
Wankhede stadium

In preparation for the central government's prediction of a possible surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai this month, the civic body is now planning to convert large open spaces including JIO gardens in BKC and Wankhede Stadium into COVID care centres and quarantine facilities. The civic body is also planning to increase the capacity of the quarantine centres at NESCO exhibition centre in Goregaon and NSCI and they have approached two builders to help construct amenities like toilets.

Senior civic officials said that while the central government's prediction is unlikely to come true, the BMC wants to be prepared for the possibility. One senior civic officials said that during a meeting of the COVID 19 task force committee on Friday, the idea of considering large open spaces was discussed. "We are already working on converting civic-run, aided and some private schools into quarantine centres. But if there is a spike in the number of cases in the coming weeks, we will need a higher capacity. We are considering 3-4 large open spaces and a team will visit each of the spaces to survey the area," said a senior civic official.

According to civic officials, a team led by Dr Sanjay Oak, chairman of the task committee visited the JIO gardens on Saturday along with other spaces. "The facilities and the capacity for these spaces is yet to be fixed which will be decided after a feasibility report for each of this sites is submitted," said the official.

Apart from open spaces, the civic body is also planning to increase the capacity of NESCO from the existing 100 beds to 1000 beds and has reached out to builders to help construct toilet facilities. "We have asked Romell Group and Ajmera Group to help with construction work related to temporary toilets and garbage disposal. Depending on the findings of the feasibility reports, we are also planning to involve builders to help construct temporary structures to serve as COVID care facilities," said another senior civic official.

Civic officials said that while a capacity of 20,000 beds is being planned in 700 civic-run schools, another 25,000 beds will be set up in around 500 aided schools. "We have asked the deputy commissioners of each ward to set up these spaces and they should be ready within a week. Ward level officials have also been asked to identify private schools where another 4000-5000 beds can be set up in spaces like the gymnasium," said the official. Currently, the cumulative capacity of all the facilities set up by the BMC is around 7000 beds and the plans are to increase it to more than 50000 beds in the coming weeks.

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