COVID-19 in Mumbai: Toilet tussle at Cuffe Parade's Bay View Marina garden
Residents cry foul over slum-dwellers accessing toilet block inside garden maintained by them; unmasked wanderers in flagrant violation of rules
The Cuffe Parade Residents' Association (CPRA) is ringing alarm bells over intrusions into the Bay View Marina garden, behind G D Somani School at Cuffe Parade.
The roughly four-acre (approximately 1,74,240 square feet) garden is closed as mandated by the lockdown.
Cuffe Parade residents, many of who are at vigil on their windows, have seen a number of slum-dwellers access the garden through one side that does not have a gate and so cannot be locked down. Said Anand Sheth, honorary secretary, CPRA, "There are a few hutments abutting the garden, which is looked after and maintained by the Association. We have spent huge sums on its upkeep since 2003. We never deny anybody entry though, everybody is free to access it during garden timings."
Toilet was being renovated until the lockdown began
The garden has a security cabin and guards are posted in 12-hour shifts. The same process is followed now, during lockdown with the CPRA arranging food for security guards. There is one toilet block within this garden, comprising a gents and ladies section. The slum-dwellers access the toilets now, though the block was kept locked like the garden, a few days ago.
Sheth said speaking on behalf of the CPRA, "The lock on the toilets has been broken recently. The slum-dwellers can be seen carrying cans of water and walking towards the toilets.
"The toilets inside are broken as we were renovating them. The gents side is completely demolished with groundwork to be done. The wall tiles are also broken. The facelift is being paid for by the CPRA. Though they are seen bringing their own water, how can the toilet block be cleaned without a water connection and how can it be used with some parts demolished for renovation, which is mid-way?"
Its lock was broken recently
Cuffe Parade locals also stated that the association office bearers have the cleaning equipment like brooms and phenyl, "And we are certain the slum dwellers using it are not going to buy cleaning equipment to clean these toilets."
There have been a number of arguments with the security personnel, who incidentally, use toilets outside the garden through arrangements with some buildings in the vicinity. Cuffe Parade residents have said that they have photographic evidence of the slum-dwellers without masks, strolling inside the garden. Meanwhile, Chanda Jadhav, assistant commissioner, A ward, said, "According to the BMC commissioner's orders, toilets within gardens have to remain open for public use." R Dongre, Senior Inspector of the Cuffe Parade police station said, "The commissioner's orders stipulate that people should be allowed to use toilets in gardens at this time and hence the lock of the toilet has been broken."
The security in charge of the garden P Chaudhary said, "Most people walking in are not wearing masks in flagrant violation of rules. I have instructed my security personnel not to wander close to the toilet block as these people wait to use the loos and this is dangerous. Cleanliness is also a big worry," he said.
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