Coronavirus outbreak: BMC's plans to take over top school on back burner

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:36 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Civic body wanted to convert Podar International School into a quarantine centre, stopped after opposition from locals and corporator; BMC says it will revisit plan

The BMC has said it will acquire Podar International School as a quarantine centre as and when needed. Pic/Shadab Khan
The BMC has said it will acquire Podar International School as a quarantine centre as and when needed. Pic/Shadab Khan

As the city fights the COVID-19 pandemic, several educational institutions are coming forward to help, especially by providing their buildings. But a well-know school from Santacruz, the Podar International School, which was being considered as a quarantine facility by the civic body was not taken over following objections raised by locals as well as parents of students.

The BMC has put its plan of creating the quarantine facility at this school on hold following a letter by the local corporator regarding this. The BMC, however, clarified that it will revisit the plan if the need arises.

While some parents have alleged that the school told them to stand with the management by opposing the plan, some said this could spread infection in their locality. One of the parents, a local resident, said, "The school is right at the junction where most of us shop for essentials. If there is a quarantine facility right there, it will be dangerous."

A parent alleged, "We received information from the school, informally through parents' groups. It categorically said that the plan can be opposed once the parents come forward, especially the local residents. Clearly the school used parents to refuse the civic body."

Local corporator Hetal Gala wrote a letter to the civic body on Monday requesting the plan be put on hold. "The BMC has put the plan on hold after we approached it. Our MLA Ashish Shelar supported us."

Despite several calls and messages, the principal of Podar International School, Vandana Lulla, did not respond. H-West ward officer Vinayak Vispute clarified that this does not mean the school will not be taken over. "It will be acquired as and when required."

Dr Harish Shetty, a renowned psychiatrist, said, "Scientifically, having a quarantine centre in the locality or a COVID-19 patient in the vicinity does not directly lead to one getting infected. But because of fear people tend to exaggerate the conditions."

300
No. of beds that school can accommodate

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