8 PMC swimming pools in Pune remain shut due to civic apathy
Eight PMC-run pools are lying unused while political parties play blame game over the issueUpdated: Dec 04, 2018 15:32 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
The Pune municipal corporation (PMC)-run eight swimming pools whose operations were suspended for a different time period ranging from a few months to eight years continue to remain idle due to civic apathy. The swimming pools were shut down for various reasons such as drowning incidents, lapsed contracts with pool managers and political differences at the ward level. As result residents of all age groups, including senior citizens who used to visit these pools for water therapy continue to suffer.
Anil Muley, head of PMC’s estate department, said, “It is true that some of the swimming tanks are not operational due to various reasons such as maintenance problems, safety issues and release of fresh tenders. Since PMC does not have enough manpower, the swimming tanks are leased out to private parties. We will take efforts to make these tanks operational at the earliest.”
Muley said all activities at the Baba Ramdev swimming pool at Taljai were suspended in April after a 19-year-old youth, Pramod Wankhede, drowned and died. So later the authorities closed the tank and suspended the contractor.
Muley said that some tanks were not operational as contracts with pool operators had lapsed and fresh tenders needed to be issued.
Nationalist Congress Party corporator Nitin Kadam alleged that the main reason why these tanks were non-operational was that the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party wanted to award contracts to its supporters and therefore there was political conflict at the ward level.
Kadam cited the example of the Sahakarnagar swimming pool. He said, “The PMC administration had completed the tendering process for appointing a new contractor to run the tank. However, BJP members were not giving their approval in the standing committee meetings over the last many months and postponing the proposal.”
Kadam demanded that instead of giving contracts to political workers and party loyalists, the contracts should be given to qualified swimming pool operators as the safety of residents was involved.
While agreeing that at least four tanks in his and neighbouring wards were not operational, BJP corporator from Sahakarnagar, Mahesh Wabale, said, “It was wrong to allege that BJP corporators were trying to give contracts to their contractors at these tanks.” While giving an example, he said, “The Taljai tank was closed due to an accident and the re-tendering process was going on. While Nande tank was closed for maintenance, also the PMC is in the process of appointing a contractor for the Ambedkar tank.” The tank in front of Bagul garden was closed for nearly eight years now due to a judicial case, he said.
A private contractor who runs a swimming tank on condition of anonymity, said, “It is wrong to keep swimming tanks closed for months together just because of political reasons as the infrastructure and equipment will suffer neglect. It is necessary to keep the tanks operational for good maintenance.”
Senior citizen Vijay Vishwasrao who is a regular swimmer at the Kamgar Kalyan tank located at Sahakarnagar, said, “Many senior citizens like me come to the civic tanks to walk in shallow waters to take hydrotherapy advised by doctors. This has now come to a standstill because of civic neglect.”
First Published: Dec 04, 2018 15:32 IST