Wankhede Stadium to turn into quarantine centre

To be repurposed: Wankhede Stadium now joins a string of gymkhanas on Marine Drive that have been acquired by the BMC to set up quarantine facilities.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has directed the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to hand over Wankhede Stadium to convert it into a quarantine facility for high-risk contacts of COVID-19 patients in the city.

In a letter issued to MCA officials on Friday, accessed by The Hindu, the BMC sought “immediate handover” of the stadium. The letter, issued by Chanda R. Jadhav, assistant commissioner of A ward, said, “The premises will be used for emergency staff of A ward and quarantining people who have come in contact with COVID-19 patients and are not symptomatic.”

‘Awaiting instructions’

Confirming the receipt of the letter, MCA secretary Sanjay Naik said the association will cooperate with the authorities. “We are waiting for further instructions from the assistant commissioner,” he said.

Wankhede Stadium to turn into quarantine centre

With pre-monsoon showers expected in the city soon, the BMC is unlikely to use the ground now. However, closed-door facilities, including the press box, the president’s box and a few corporate boxes, might be put to use.

Residents jittery

The stadium is located in a residential area near Marine Drive and the development has made residents jittery. “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,” said a 50-year-old resident of D Road, on condition of anonymity. The entrance to the stadium is located on the main street.

Besides the stadium, the premises houses the MCA, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Garware Club House (GCH). Raj Purohit, vice-president of GCH, said the club hasn’t yet received any notification from the BMC. “Since the club has been closed for two months now, we haven’t been able to maintain it. But if authorities still want possession, we shall obviously comply with it,” Mr. Purohit said.

The stadium, which hosted the 2011 cricket World Cup final, now joins a string of gymkhanas on Marine Drive that have been acquired by the BMC to set up quarantine facilities. The BMC is expecting a spike in COVID-19 cases this month.

The BMC has already converted the National Sports Club of India in Worli and Mahalaxmi Racecourse into temporary healthcare facilities.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 12:48:32 PM |

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