Mumbai Buzz: online classes return, sea link toll expensive and more

News from Mumbai this week

Hardik Joshi, Unsplash,Com

Fire results in the death of 11 COVID-19 patients

On March 25th, a fire rapidly spread in Dreams Mall Sunrise Hospital resulting in the death of 11 COVID-19 patients. Relatives of the deceased ran around the city for almost 10 hours searching for their bodies. Dreams Mall had been declared fit for housing a make-shift COVID hospital days before an audit last May claimed that fire-fighting systems of the building are non-functional. Despite this audit, Mumbai’s Fire Brigade granted a fire safety compliance report for the mall on July 22, 2020. Draft rules published in 2009 would have mandated vulnerable buildings make serious renovations. However, they have been left pending for the past 12 years. By law, the government should have made a decision within 90 days of the proposal. On March 30, another major fire broke out in Goregaon West.

Source: Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times

Read more: In schools, hospitals or shrines, you can’t escape fire risk in urban India

Cultural icon Anil Dharker passes away

Anil Dharker shot by Aalok Soni

A journalist, author, and architect, Dharker also founded the Mumbai International Literary Festival held every November. During his tenure on the Advisory Board of the Film Censor Board, he transformed the censorship code. He also headed the National Film Development Corporation. Dharker was a pioneer in the field of architecture. He introduced important fire-safety measures such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, etc to the construction of Indian buildings.

Source: Scroll, Wire

Problems plague Mumbai’s COVID-19 hospitals

Understaffed, public hospitals are requesting relatives of patients to stay in COVID-19 wards and look after their loved ones. Hospitals in Mulund, BKC, and other areas of Mumbai are facing severe shortage of manpower leading them to ask relatives of patients’ to take care of them while admitted. While treatment has been satisfactory in government hospitals, complaints of hygiene conditions continue. Families are forced to move patients to private hospitals due to unsanitary bathrooms. Along with staff shortages, Mumbai is staring at a city-wide lack of beds in hospitals. 80% of ICU beds have already been occupied by seriously infected patients.

Source: Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times

BMC directs school teachers and staff to work from home

On March 16, the BMC issued a circular mandating public school staff to return to online functioning. In-person classes were once again discontinued and teachers were instructed to resume e-learning services for their students. The circular stated that this will be in effect until further notice. However, teachers may be required to step into school premises in order to distribute mid-day meals and carry out any emergency tasks. Teachers associations’ across Mumbai have been lobbying for schools to remain shut ever since cases began surging in the city.

Source: Times of India

Bandra-Worli Sea Link toll charges got costlier on April 1

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation decided to increase toll charges in accordance with routine 3-year increases. Single journeys for cars are now Rs. 85, Rs. 130 for mini-buses and Rs. 175 for buses and trucks. The state government has extended toll collection till 2052. FASTag holders will continue to receive a 5% discount. The deadline for purchasing FASTags was extended for Mumbai drivers to February 15.

Source: Mumbai Live

Mumbai-based realty group charged for fraud

Mumbai based realty group Omkar Realtors and Developers have been charged with illegally diverting Yes Bank loan funds over Rs. 400 crores. Taken under the guise of redeveloping buildings under Anand Nagar Slum Rehabilitation Authorities, the funds were transferred to group companies. The accused have been arrested. Omkar Realtors has been one of the major players in slum redevelopment projects in the city.

Source: NDTV, IndiaToday

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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.