The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be increasing the number of swimming pools in the city this year. It also announced 25 per cent discount for women at four of its existing functional swimming pools to increase the number of female users. The current annual fee for large pools is Rs 10,100 while for the smaller ones, it is Rs 8,000. The monthly fee varies as well, depending on the size of the pool, and ranges between Rs 1,300 to Rs 4,700.
While the pools have special slots for women, from 11 am to 12 pm and 5 pm to 6 pm, the response has not been satisfactory. At present, a total of 19,856 men use BMC swimming pools and only 7,787 women avail of the facility.
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Where will the new swimming pools come up?
BMC has planned for swimming pools in Malad and Dahisar, which will be up and running by April 1st. The ones in Andheri East, Andheri West, Vikhroli and Worli are underway too. The city at present has swimming pools (one each) at Dadar, Kandivali, Dahisar, Mulund, Chembur, and Ghatkopar. The one in Kandivali and Dadar are Olympic-sized and meet the international standards. However, the pool at Ghatkopar is closed for repair and maintenance work.
Where can you apply for a membership?
Just last year, BMC made moved the process of securing a membership for city’s swimming pool online. Those who wish to avail the membership can do it using civic body’s dedicated online portal. Each pool has a limited number of members, At present, the pools at Dadar and Chembur are functioning at their full capacity but there are 409 and 210 special slots reserved for women at both these pools.
The staff at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Swimming Pool, Dadar, say they witness close to a 1,000 members a day. Meanwhile, the pools at Andheri (W), Dahisar (E), Kandivali (W), and Mulund (W) are open for 1,196, 122, 2,695, and 1,473 new members respectively.
In case all the slots for annual membership are unavailable at the pool of their choice, applicants can choose to be in the waiting list by paying an online fee of Rs 500.
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What are the required documents?
After filling out the online form, applicants need to provide a set of documents within 30 days in order confirm their membership at the pool of their choice. These documents include any government recognised identity card with residential address and a medical certificate.
Students need to provide a bona-fide certificate if they wish to avail a discount. In case a member is a minor, It is mandatory for a parent or a guardian to be present at the pool.
How has online registration for swimming pools changed ?
BMC’s Deputy Commissioner Kishore Gandhi believes the online process has opened up access to people across Mumbai. When asked if he believes the system is accessible for lower income groups, he says, “It has ensured that people don’t have to go through unnecessary hassle and has generated more transparency.”
However, Rovin Murrey (40), who has been a member at Dadar’s swimming pool for several years says the online process has made it difficult for people to avail new membership.
“The pool is running at full capacity only on paper. People take membership online but not many show up. This has increased waiting time for those who wish to become members. The earlier system where people had to visit the facility in-person was better in that sense, only those really interested would take the effort,” Murrey says.