BMC to use Wankhede Stadium as quarantine/isolation facility

The move comes a week after the BMC had asked gymkhanas at Marine Drive to hand over the gymkhana premises for developing quarantine facilities

BMC to use Wankhede Stadium as quarantine/isolation facility

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to hand over the Wankhede Stadium to be converted into a quarantine/isolation facility for COVID-19 patients.

In a letter issued to the MCA officials on Friday, the MCGM has sought “immediate handover” of the stadium. According to the letter, the Wankhede premises would be used for high-risk contacts.

“The said premises will be used for the emergency staff of ‘A’ Ward and quarantining the person whoever in contact with positive COVID-19 patient and are not symptomatic,” stated the letter issued by Chanda R. Jadhav, Assistant Commissioner of ‘A’ ward.

MCA secretary Sanjay Naik, in reply, has stated that the association will comply fully with the authorities. “We are now waiting for further instructions from the assistant commissioner,” Naik told Sportstar.

According to reports, the BMC intends to use closed-door facilities in the stadium including the press box, the president’s box and a few corporate boxes. Since monsoon will soon be marking its arrival in Mumbai, it is unlikely that the BMC will utilise the ground as of now.

While the stadium will assist the civic body in creating 'the extra space' for COVID-19 patients, the residents near the stadium have voiced their concerns about the decision. Since the Wankhede Stadium is located amid a residential area on the Marine Drive, the residents are worried about their safety.

“This is very worrying for us all. We were afraid that it might come to this. But our lane is completely residential and the BMC and the government will have to ensure our safety,” a 50-year-old resident told Sportstar.

Earlier last week, the BMC had asked the administration of six gymkhanas at Marine Drive (Police, Catholic, Grand Medical, Hindu, Islam and Parsee) to hand over the premises. Usually, the gymkhana grounds are filled with people playing sports but with the lockdown in place, they are empty which will allow the civic body to utilise these in isolating COVID-19 patients or their contacts.

BMC has already turned the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) in Worli and the Mahalaxmi Race Course into temporary healthcare facilities.