Parents fume as gas station comes up next to Mumbai school
Owner and trustee of HMW English School in Oshiwara in the city's western suburbs has set up a CNG station next to it, posing a risk to the safety and health of its 2,000 students
Parents of over 2,000 students of an Andheri-based school have expressed anger and outrage at one of the institution’s trustees, who is constructing a Mahanagar CNG station right next to the school premises.
The school and the gas station on Oshiwara Relief Road. Pic/Shadab Khan
Concerned locals have complained to authorities that the under-construction station at Oshiwara Relief Road in Andheri poses a serious threat to the safety and health of the students of the school, as well as the hundreds of families that live in the two buildings right next to it.
The trustee of the school, who owns the gas station, claims that he has obtained all the relevant documents and permissions for its construction. Pic/Shadab Khan
The school’s trustee Ahad Khan, who is also owner of the gas station, claims he has obtained all the relevant permission and documents. HMW English School and KHMV Junior College is housed in a six-storey building, and has over 2,000 students studying in it, from Std I to the junior college sections in commerce and science. Adjoining the under-construction gas station are two residential buildings – one six storeyed and the other 12 storeyed. Opposite the station lies a graveyard.
“Suddenly, three months back, the school authorities started constructing a structure in the compound. Later, we came to know that a CNG gas station was coming up in the school compound. My daughter studies in the same school and I am extremely anxious for her safety. It is dangerous for small kids. A gas station should never come up near a school,” said a parent, on condition of anonymity.
Local resident Abdul Haq Ansari, who has taken up the cudgels on behalf of other concerned residents, said, “After I started speaking out against the construction I received threats. But I went ahead and lodged official complaints last month to MHADA, the deputy fire officer, BMC officials, and DCP of zone IX. An inquiry was initiated and work has been stalled at present. The gas station is situated in an extremely dangerous location, adjoining the school, two residential buildings, and with a graveyard opposite it.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Sunil Nesarikar said, “I cannot comment on the matter without going to the spot. And it depends on the distance between the CNG gas station and the other structures. If the joint controller of explosive approves the gas station, we usually go ahead with and provide NOC.” Mahanagar Gas spokesperson Neera Ashthana did not respond to our calls.
Senior Police Inspector Nasir Pathan of Oshiwara police station said, “As per the orders from our superiors, an inquiry is being conducted on the gas station adjoining the school. If there are any illegalities involved in the construction of the gas station, we will mention it in the report that we will submit soon in the matter.”
The other side
Ahad Khan, owner of the school and the gas station, said, “I have all the necessary permission required and no-objection certificates from all relevant departments, required to construct the gas station. I have two other petrol pumps, so I know which documents are needed. The work has not stopped at all.
The underground line work remains to be completed, after which the station will start operating soon.” He added, “The plot on which the gas station is coming up is my saleable area and not the school plot. The people who are complaining against me are trying to extort me. I have made a complaint regarding the same.”
It is surprising how the trustee managed to clear all the formalities required to construct the Mahanagar Gas CNG station. The structure is very hazardous for our children. - Muslim Pathan, whose son is a Std IV student
My son studies in Std IV. If the gas station starts operating, I will send him to another school. I chose this school as it is close to my house, but if my son is not safe then I have to think of another option. The emissions from the gas station will definitely cause harm to small kids. - Wahid Sheikh, parent
If the gas station starts operating there, it will cause major health problems for small kids. I am thinking of changing my son’s school. A blast can occur in the station and the whole area will feel the effect. - Atiq Rehman, parent of a Std II student