By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | November 28, 2017

Dear Fadnavis Sir

Yesterday, after long time, I ambled across at the MSSA (Mumbai School Sports Association). It was rewind time as I saw school children playing different tournaments at Azad Maidan.

I was a frequent visitor to the then BSSA as a sports journalist to cover various school tournaments and for the innumerable press conferences held there. I last set foot at this venue sometime in 1999.

Since my daughter was part of the school handball team and since she was a little under the weather, I decided to visit the place sometime in the afternoon.

What I saw of the stands they were sitting on was frightening. The pictures display the apparent danger.MSSA_Horizontal

Part of the stands caved in on July 18, 2017, but life, err sports goes on. Precious lives are at stake here. You can see how the kids are sitting. One boy had a fall. Luckily he landed on his feet. It doesn’t take an expert to point out that the place that the children are sitting on can cave in at any moment.

MSSA_Horizontal2

 

I don’t understand what the MSSA authorities are waiting for? Sorry to say this: a tragedy like the Elphinstone Road FOB?

Sir, as custodian of the city, I bring this to your notice not only as a worried parent, but also as an avid sports lover.

Is this the nursery of our sports where we expect medals at the International level? How will children take to sports if basic infrastructure is missing and there is no respect for their lives?

I do hope you request the authorities at the MSSA to improve the infrastructure on a priority basis. Please lay special emphasis on the toilet facilities as well. Many girls avoid going there.

Just for the record, here is an extract from a Times of India report, dated July 19, 2017, after the tragedy.

MSSA president Fr Jude Rodrigues said they have plans to install a proper stand, like the one at Cooperage.

“I travelled to China a fortnight ago and met with people who fix the stands. I have quotations and we’re in the process of finalizing a deal. In two months’ time, we should set up the stands. Apart from the stands, we’re also trying to get a company to set up a huge artificial tent so we can conduct indoor games.”

Fr Rodrigues said he would fence off the area to where the stands caved in. “We’ll get an engineer to check the structure and will cordon off the dangerous areas. There’s nothing else we can do at the moment,” he told TOI.

(Link to the article: High Drama at MSSA as stand caves in)

Sir, it’s over four months now! Nothing is cordoned off. Moreover, children have to duck under broken railings to get to the stands. If they raise their heads before crossing underneath, there is a danger of the protruding rods causing injuries to their neck and back.

With your intervention, I am sure things will look up for the school kids.

Children are our future

Thanking you in anticipation.

God Bless You.

Also Read: It’s Band, Baaja, Baraat and not sports at gymkhanas

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