Mumbai: Metro III damaged Worli Municipal school, claims BMC
Civic body writes to MMRC, says incessant digging, drilling and other work for the underground corridor has put a big municipal school on Dr Annie Besant Road at huge risk
What damage will Metro III cause next? After repeated instances of waterlogging in South Mumbai, and unusual flooding due to illegal discharge of slurry water in the stormwater drain network, work on the underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz corridor has now found to be affecting a civic school as well as a cement concrete road in Worli.
The Worli primary school holds classes from Std I to VII in Hindi, Marathi and Urdu mediums, as well as for night school. The Metro work is for the Acharya Atre Chowk station and being done in the school's backyard, on Dr E Moses Road. The BMC has written a letter to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which is executing the project.
Teachers say nearly all classrooms near the Metro site have been affected. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Cracked and damaged
The matter came to light after a few teachers complained to the AO (administration officer) that the school building felt the vibrations when drilling or digging work was done at the site.
When mid-day visited the school, we spotted cracks in the beams and windowpanes, and chunks of plaster that had fallen from a staircase at the back, which is now barred for students, to avoid any untoward incident. A teacher said, "Since Metro authorities have started digging in our backyard, windowpanes of classrooms have developed cracks and plaster of ceilings has loosened. This problem can be seen in most classrooms close to the Metro site. We are scared for our students; anything can fall on them.
"After we complained, Metro authorities visited the school and asked us to shift the affected classrooms. But where is the space for that?" Local Yuva Sena leader Abhijit Patil, who has raised this issue with the authorities, said, "The beams on the ground floor and second floor are showing cracks. Not only is the use of heavy machinery for digging for piling work affecting the structure, but it's also difficult to hold classes amid all the noise. Metro authorities should immediately carry out a structural audit of the school building to avoid any mishap."
"Like the school, the Metro work has also damaged a cement concrete road near Sasmira College in Worli. Huge cracks can be seen on the road, which would otherwise have stayed good for at least 10 years. This has also made the stretch accident-prone. Civic officials have asked MMRC to take precautionary steps," added Patil.
A senior civic official from G-south ward office said, "Last month, the school AO told us about the building feeling the vibrations and about the cracks in the beams. We visited the school and called a structural engineer, and later, sent a letter to MMRC. It, however, replied that the construction activity hasn't affected the school."
"We have sent a letter to MMRC and asked officials to take corrective measures against the damage to avoid any untoward incident," said Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-South ward (Worli, Prabhadevi) Devendra Jain.
The other side
A spokesperson for the MMRC, however, said, "Construction activities of Mumbai Metro III follow stringent safety protocol. We only have the station's entry-exit point near the school, and construction work hasn't even started at that location. A Building Condition Survey has been done, and the cracks in the structure have been there since long, which we have communicated to the MCGM. Some cracks were observed on a road near Sasmira due to movement of machinery, but those were repaired and the road restored immediately."
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