• mid-day editorial: The first lesson in any school must be safety

    mid-day correspondentMumbaiAug 01, 2017, 06:05 IST

    Mumbai will never learn, or so it seems. The Ghatkopar crash, which claimed 17 lives, is still making headlines, but a top preschool that has been served an evacuation notice by the BMC has refused to comply. Podar Jumbo Kids, which has over 50 students, has said that it will wait for the building’s owner to complete a structural audit before it takes any action. The little clause in the BMC notice that the preschool seems to be missing is that the BMC has deemed the structure unfit for occupancy and it wants the premises vacated immediately.

    Other residents of the building vacated the premises months ago, following an earlier BMC notice. The report stated that six months ago, a government rationing office moved out, fearing the building would crash.

    It’s unfathomable that the preschool would risk the lives of so many children by choosing to operate till the audit report comes in. They must be aware that other occupants of the dilapidated structure have already moved out.

    Given the number of lives at stake, the preschool should have started making alternate arrangements the day the first BMC notice for the building arrived, months ago. For the sake of the little ones they nurture, they should have requested a structural audit around the same time. Instead of wasting more time now, the playschool authorities should immediately begin the hunt for a stable and safe location to shift their operations. Parents of the toddlers enrolled in this playschool should seek some answers from the authorities.

    Occupants of such weak structures often refuse to vacate the premises due to space crunch in the city. But instead of hiding behind excuses, the playschool should try to find a way out of the crisis. The bottom line is, they cannot play with the lives of the children.

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