For over five hours, 16 fire-fighters used four pipes attached to two fire-tenders to sanitise the six-storey Nizamuddin Markaz, and the area around it, with the help of an MCD official who guided them from lane to lane Thursday.
Apart from this, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) deployed a drone to spray a disinfectant over the locality including the Markaz, and a team of four public health field workers with power sprayers also sanitised the Markaz.
Delhi Fire Services (DFS) director Atul Garg said, “We have winding hose reels and high water pressure in our fire-tenders to douse flames that billow from tall buildings. This has come in handy in sanitising the area.” Garg said two fire-tenders and 16 firefighters were put on standby at the spot. “The solution — sodium hypochlorite — was provided by the South MCD, and mixed with water and then sprayed. We used 20,000 litres of water mixed with solution,” he said.
The 16 DFS personnel were equipped with orange-coloured imported fire-fighting helmets that come with a pair of goggles and a glass shield that covers the entire face, gloves, masks and gum-boots. “We have hose reels that can cover a distance of 30 metres, which ensures that in such cases, the men don’t have to go too close to the building,” said Garg.
Fire-fighter Mahinder (59), who is stationed at the Rakabganj fire station, told The Indian Express, “We sprayed the solution on the Markaz, the walls in the vicinity, the shutters of shops, flower pots, railings… literally everything. We started from the main road and went to the lanes, reached the Markaz, the mosque. The helmet we wear keeps us very safe, so I wasn’t too worried.”
A Delhi resident, he lives with his wife and two sons. “I am just seven months away from retirement, and I got to be a part of this sanitising process… Makes me feel good that I can help at an unprecedented time like this,” he said.
Portions of the Nizamuddin area in Southeast Delhi have been cordoned off after the area was identified as one of the 10 hotspots of the coronavirus outbreak in India.
At the Nizamuddin Markaz, at least 4,000 members of the Tablighi Jamaat, an apolitical religious outfit, had gathered mid-March — many to attend the quarterly jod — and on March 23, a day after the Janata Curfew, at least 1,500 were evacuated by Markaz officials. For three days, Delhi Police and the health department evacuated the rest of the visitors, and sent them to quarantine centres and hospitals. On April 1, an FIR was filed against Maulana Mohd. Saad and other members of the Tablighi Jamaat.
Meanwhile, a team of SDMC public health field workers too was busy sanitising the area, including the Markaz, a day after it was vacated.
A senior SDMC official said, “We used the drone to spray 1% sodium hypochlorite solution as a disinfectant in Nizamuddin, Nizamuddin Basti and the surrounding areas. The drone helps cover areas which sanitation workers find difficult to reach such as the tops of buildings and congested lanes.”
The official said that it also helps reduce human contact in the area, which is at the centre of the pandemic right now. “The drone took 18 rounds of 20 minutes each with a five-litre solution of the disinfectant,” he said.
The civic body has also deployed 40 “disinfectant spraying” teams of public health workers, with knapsack pumps filled with one percent sodium hypochlorite solution, in a bid to cover narrow streets and localities where accessibility is an issue. Apart from this, sanitisation by spraying disinfectant with four tractor-driven tankers is also being carried out in the area.
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