Mumbai civic body spends Rs19 crore to revamp swimming pool in Chembur, then turns off the tap
The pool, shut in 2007, is still awaiting water supply after revamp was completed in Januarymumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2018 11:50 IST
Three months after the completion of reconstructing a public swimming pool in Chembur, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to reopen the pool for public use due to refusal of its hydraulic department to supply water.
The hydraulic department has expressed concerns over supplying water to the pool. It is estimated the pool will need 20 lakh litres of water on a monthly basis. Civic officials were not willing to speak on record.
A senior civic official from the hydraulic department said, “The water supply to be provided to the swimming pool has not been decided yet. We are looking at several factors considering the amount of water supply it will need. There is no water shortage problems for now but we cannot take an immediate decision when it comes to supplying bulk water.”
The General Arun Kumar Vaidya Swimming Pool near Natraj Cinema in Chembur was shut down for repairs in 2007 and the BMC allocated Rs12 crore for revamp only in 2011. Majority of the repair work of the swimming pool was completed only by January this year. The delay has not only left citizens waiting but has also led to cost escalation. The total cost for the reconstruction of the swimming pool has shot up Rs19 crore.
A senior civic official said, “Nearly 90% of the repair work has been completed. We have not received any replies from the water department for the supply. The cost increased as several new components were added later.”
The BMC has seven public pools in the city — one in Dadar and the rest in the suburbs. It has also proposed eight new swimming pools. Tenders for three pools at Worli, Malad and Vikhroli have already been floated while remaining pools will be located at Andheri East and West, Dahisar and Govandi.
Local Shiv Sena corporator, Anil Patankar, blamed the contractor for the delay in reconstruction of the pool. “The contractor has skipped three deadlines of completion and has been fined by the BMC previously. I have been following up with the work for the past five years. This is the only public pool that will cater to a larger population,” he said.
The swimming pool area is around 1,338.82 square metres. The pool, into which 10 people can dive at the same time, has a spectators’ gallery that can hold 120 people. There is also parking facility for two and four-wheelers.
Rajkumar Sharma, coordinator of NGO AGNI from Chembur, said, “Not everyone can afford membership in gymkhanas. There has to be public swimming pools in all areas so that everyone gets access to it. The BMC has been giving us vague replies for taking a decade to reconstruct the swimming pool. Also, they have no reason for shutting down the parking facility at the swimming pool, which has created traffic chaos near Chembur railway station.”
While there are two swimming pools in the central suburbs of Mulund and Ghatkopar, the swimming pool in Chembur is the only one that caters to a larger population in the eastern suburbs. The pool is expected to cater to people from Mankhurd, Govandi, Trombay, Mahul and Chembur.