The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has been granted permission by the Bombay High Court to establish a COVID-19 quarantine facility in Mahul, which comes under the M-West ward. The BMC received a reprieve from the High Court, though the court maintained that this has to be used only as a last resort when and if the situation worsens.
This was in response to a PIL (Public interest litigation) filed collectively by NGO Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan and Sharda Tevar, the mother of an Arthur Road Jail detainee who is currently awaiting trial.
The PIL was filed on behalf of the two parties by Advocate Ronita Bhattacharya-Bector, who said that Mahul is unsuitable for a COVID-19 quarantine facility as it is heavily polluted by local industries.
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In May, the High Court asked the BMC not to set up quarantine centres without its permission. This is when the civic body sent a revised application with some modifications to use accommodation meant for Project Affected Persons (PAPs) as a quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, counsel representing the BMC said that COVID-19 cases in the M West ward are expected to go up to 3,000 in the near future. Additionally, the advocate said that the BMC may need to prepare a quarantine facility for at least 30,000 contacts of positive patients.
The Bombay High Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde responded to the modifications via video conferencing. The order passed on Tuesday states – “The only order that is required to be passed at the moment is to permit the applicant to take such measures as are required to make the tenements habitable, if in case the prevailing situation in future worsens and the tenements at Mahul are urgently required for use thereof as quarantine centres. Such limited permission is granted.”