Three weeks after the imposition of nationwide lockdown, Desai Ni Pol in Khadia has now transformed into a deserted locality.
The only movement seen in Khadia are of drones, fire vehicles spraying sodium hypochlorite solution, fogging machines and medical professionals in PPE suits holding up thermal guns and screening residents.
Following the surge in COVID-19 positive cases in some parts of the walled city, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has converted the city within 12 ancient darwaza or gates — Raipur, Sarangpur, Panchkunva, Astodiya, Dariapur, Prem Darwaza, Delhi Darwaza, Shahpur, Khanpur, Shah-e-Alam, Jamalpur and Raikhad — into a buffer zone while strictly regulating the entry and exit of any persons in the region.
Sixty-three-year old Kiran Soni, who was playing cricket with his grandson in the narrow lanes of Desai ni Pol two weeks back has now stopped stepping out of the home.
“The situation has become serious now. We have children at home, so we have to be very careful. Also, due to worsening situation, the surveillance has become very strict,” says Soni adding that during such a situation, it was their “duty to stay home”.
“Earlier, you could see one or two people moving around at least in the Pol, but now it has worn a complete deserted look. Everybody stays indoors and is tensed,” says Hemant Bhatt, a gynecologist and resident of Desai ni Pol.
Bhatt, meanwhile, adds that the supply of essential items like grocery, milk, vegetables, fruits etc. has been quite sufficient.
Pol residents say that entry and exit of anybody in the region is now closely monitored and it has resulted in stopping of any unauthorized entry.
“You can see a drone hovering over twice or thrice in a day. Following such drone surveillance, police arrested 3-4 youths for roaming around,” says Bhatt.
“Three days back, AMC officials equipped with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) visited every household. They screened people especially those having respiratory system related illnesses. Everyone’s temperature was taken with infrared temperature gun. Our entire Pol was sanitized with a fogging machine and spraying of disinfectant,” says Bhatt.
“And the public cooperation is astonishing. People are following restrictions now and every Pol, including ours, has blocked entry of any outsider in Khadia,” he adds.
The Pol residents have also decided to donate Rs. 10,000 to the PM-CARES fund to fight the pandemic .
Chintan Oza, treasurer of the Pol’s resident’s welfare association says, “We have collected Rs 10,051 from the Pol residents and will be donating it to the PM-CARES fund.”
Oza says, “Except to fetch essential items like milk, vegetables, grocery etc., nobody is stepping out now. Even if we want to talk to the neighbour, we make a phone call. Basically, we are quite social, but due to current situation, we have started meeting each other over video call or playing an online video game with friends in the Pol.”
While the Pol residents are overwhelmed by the efforts being taken by the AMC officials, they are also worried about rising number of cases in some other neighbouring walled-city areas like Dariapur, Jamalpur, Danilimda, Kalupur etc..
“Any words of appreciation for the officials of AMC are not enough. They are providing us world class facilities while risking their own lives. However, we are also worried by the fact that the number of cases is rising in nearby areas,” says Oza.
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