MUMBAI: With Covid-19 cases in the city seeing a sharp decline, the BMC has begun dismantling the jumbo Covid centre at Mahalaxmi Race Course, which has not seen a single patient since it was set up in July, mumbaimirror report said.
The centre has 900 beds spread across four waterproof hangers. According to officials, three hangers, which have 700 regular beds, will be dismantled, while the fourth, with 200 oxygen-supported beds, will be kept on standby. Officials said that the rental cost of the hangers and other equipment was one of the main reasons for the decision to shut down the centre, the report said.
The centre was set up using the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of Shree Naman Group.
Considering the drop in active cases in the Mumbai region, several local bodies have begun to shut down Covid centres, which incur daily expenditures running into lakhs of rupees.
The centre has 900 beds spread across four waterproof hangers.
“This centre was only for catering to asymptomatic patients. We already have 1,000 beds at the NSCI Dome and Poddar Hospital. Only the oxygen beds have been kept on standby. This was a CSR initiative and the BMC did not spend any money on this. In case there is a need, the three hangers can be re-erected in 15 days,” said a senior civic official.
“Even the rent for the hangers was being paid through CSR. But there is no need for such a big centre now.” Civic authorities said that occupancy in jumbo hospitals and makeshift centres is falling and a call will soon be taken on how best to conserve resources.
The Mahalaxmi Covid facility, complete with oxygen support, was handed over to the BMC in July. But the centre remained un-utilised as nearby facilities, particularly NSCI Dome and BYL Nair Hospital, were able to absorb the patient load.
The BMC is said to have spent more than Rs 1,000 crore on Covid mitigation so far.
While several Covid centres have been shut down in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), so far no centre has been closed in Mumbai. The jumbo centres in NSCI Dome in Worli, Nesco in Goregaon, BKC, Richardson and Cruddas in Byculla and Mulund and the jumbo centre in Dahisar’s Kandharpada are all functional and admitting patients. The centre at Mahalaxmi is the first jumbo centre in the city to be shut down.
BJP corporator Vinod Mishra, who is the party leader in the BMC, said that shutting down the centre without using it was a waste of money. “Even if it is CSR funds, it is money meant for the public. This shows lack of planning and poor coordination by the BMC. The centre should have been used when the cases were peaking and there was a big shortage of beds. Hundreds of people were dying every day but this centre was only used for publicity and nothing else,” Mishra said.
Shree Naman Group did not respond to an email in this regard, report said. The number of Covid cases in Mumbai continue to dip, with 654 cases added on Friday. The city’s tally has now reached 1.89 lakh even as the total death toll reached 10,955, including 13 deaths added on Friday.
“There is a flattening in the city’s Covid curve. A second wave seems unlikely, but the health infrastructure is still on high alert,” said another senior civic official.
The doubling rate in Mumbai has climbed to 305 days, the recovery rate is steady at 92 per cent, and the overall growth rate of Covid cases in the past week has been at 0.23 per cent.
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