Mumbai: Mulund public pool shuts down, 4,000 locals left high and dry

Updated: Sep 09, 2019, 07:34 IST | Chetna Yerunkar | Mumbai

Professional swimmers and casual members alike complain about municipal swimming pool in Mulund, which is shut for over a month, and has been battling maintenance issues for over two years

The pool has not been maintained well for years now, members claimed
The pool has not been maintained well for years now, members claimed

Authorities seem to be playing dirty pool at Mulund's Priyadarshini Sports Complex, famously known as the Kalidas Swimming Pool. The BMC-run pool has been in shambles for over two years, members claimed. The pool has now been shut to the public for over a month citing repairs. Members said they had forgotten that the colour of water in swimming pools is blue as the water in the Mulund pool had turned green years ago.

The Priyadarshini Sports Complex, which also has other sports facilities like a badminton court, boxing ring, gymnasium and a ground, has over 4,000 active members. Members of the sports club said that abrupt closing down of the pool is a regular phenomenon every year, with swimmers aiming to contest at various state and national level competitions being the worst affected.

There are two pools in this complex — a diving pool of 25x25 meters and a larger pool of 25x50 meters — with both needing urgent attention, claimed members. The tiles of the pool, they said, were never cleaned and the filtration plant which is about 35 years old leads to a rise in the PH level of the pool water. Over-crowding at the pool too is an issue that leads to further filth and has even led to some thefts. When members complained, they were told not to carry precious belongings inside.

Navin Anchan, Ajay Bhatia and Vilas Singh Rajput. Pics/Rajesh Gupta
Navin Anchan, Ajay Bhatia and Vilas Singh Rajput. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

Vilas Singh Rajput, an active member of the sports club, has been following up on this issue for over two years. "The BMC isn't hearing us out. It has just put up a notice saying that the pool will remain shut until further instructions. Where do we put forth our demands? The problem of filtration plant has been existing for the past two years but the BMC has not replaced it," he said.

Children who train at the pool too are upset with the state of affairs. Nithya Laxminarayanan, a parent of one of the children, said, "My child cannot practice for his upcoming zonal level competitions. He will enter the competition with zero practice."

The swimming pool has been shut for over a month now
The swimming pool has been shut for over a month now

Despite repeated complaints, the BMC has been turning a blind eye towards the issue with pool management too pointing to civic apathy. "A proposal for the filtration plant installation is due for approval and once the authorities sign it, the problem can be permanently addressed. It is likely to take another one month to fix it. We are, meanwhile, trying a temporary solution to filter the pool water for our members," a member of the pool management said.

Kotak intervenes

Mumbai North East MP Manoj Kotak told mid-day that he had informed officers of the BMC and the ward office about the issue. "I have also written letters to the BMC commissioner highlighting the plight of the members. The filtration plant needs immediate attention but the BMC is turning a blind eye to it," said the former corporator.

Vilas Singh Rajput
Vilas Singh Rajput

Shiv Sena leader and managing trustee Aadesh Bandekar of the Brihanmumbai Krida and Lalitkala Pratishthan, a BMC trust that manages the complex, refused to comment on the issue and so did the assistant municipal commissioner of T ward, Kishor Gandhi.

Political twist

Sources said that there was a tiff between the BJP and Shiv Sena over the facilities at Kalidas Auditorium and Andheri Sports Complex as Kotak had alleged administrative and financial irregularities in the management of both the facilities. Sena leaders had then claimed that the allegations were made to in a bid to replace the Sena trustee with a BJP one.

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