(Image source from: amarujala.com)
With Maharashtra being the hotspot of the coronavirus cases in India with over 700 confirmed cases, the state has been on a red alert. The situation became worse when people residing in Dharavi, the biggest slum in Mumbai, started testing positive for the covid-19.
Another positive case was confirmed on Sunday, taking the total toll for that to 5. The authorities under the Maharashtrian government has been alerted that a possible community spread in Dharavi, which is home to over 8,50,000 people could be a living nightmare for the country.
It has been a challenge for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which is the richest municipal corporation in charge of the financial capital’s governance, managing the spread of the virus has proven out to be a challenge till now.
The first confirmed case in the illegal slum settlements in Mumbai was first detected in Worli Koliwada in the last week of March. Despite imposing the movement restrictions on 35,000 residents around the place, the GS administrative ward around the area reported 58 positive cases along with two deaths.
The neighbouring D ward, which is also home to a number of slum settlements and the Mahalaxmi temple, has the second highest number of confirmed cases, a total of 31 till now. With the alarm already rung, BMC is working day in and day out to prevent the same from happening in Dharavi and Mankhurd-Govandi.
Mumbai municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi stated saying, “We have extracted the people who were in close contact with the covid-19 infected patients and have put them in isolation and quarantine wards, with the police and our staff monitoring them daily.”
But the containment process has been patchy. Upon inspection, reporters found that Vaibhav Apartment, where one positive case has been reported till now is manned by several police officers while there is an idle police van lingering outside Dharavi with no strict restrictions. Several Shiv Sena volunteers were found near the market area to prevent crowds.
When it came to Mukund Nagar, the containment is on a whole different aspect. For a place like that which has narrow lanes and is lined with two storey structures that house several families around, only two constables were left in charge for manning the entire area while the residents moved around and even the shops remained open.
The first case of Covid-19 in Dharavi was reported on April 01, when a garment shop owner died because of the disease. While the deceased’s family were tested negative, reports of a sanitation worker and doctor came in positive.
BMC has imposed containment zones were these cases were reported and restricted public movement to ensure that the spread doesn’t get worse.
Despite the measures taken, the state reported a case at Dr Baliga Nagar on Saturday. BMC is now looking through the primary and secondary contacts of the confirmed female patient. Meanwhile, the officials have advised the residents to not step out of their homes and has assigned a team from BMC to provide the necessary groceries to their doorstep.
Taufeeq Siddiqui, a tourist guide staying in Dharavi stated saying that while they do want to cooperate with the officials, an entire family staying in a 220 sq.ft room does become very suffocating at one point. But, they are glad that the officials have given them the lenience to go out and get their milk and groceries.
According to the reports, over 135 people from Worli Koliwada were shifted to M.A. Podar Hospital for self isolation. The patients have then been admitted to the Kasturba Hospital and Seven Hills Hospital.
By Somapika Dutta