After newly-appointed Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal suggested reorganisation in marking containment zones, the BMC has now changed the definition of such zones, resulting in steep fall in its numbers — from nearly 3,000 to 692 as on May 14.
Last week, a list published by BMC on its website showed 3,000 containment zones in the city. Now, only clusters of congested areas, like slums or chawls, will be marked as containment zones. Buildings will be excluded from containment zones and will be known as “sealed buildings” if Covid-19 cases are reported from there. As per the new list, there are 1,270 “sealed buildings” in the city.
Officials said the reorganisation was undertaken for rationalisation of containment zones, to enable better and more effective and efficient utilisation of manpower.
“This will ease BMC’s burden as well as take pressure off police officers, as it had become difficult to man huge numbers of containment zones. Now, we have combined smaller areas into one and formed big clusters as containment zones,” said a civic official.
The official added that for sealed buildings, a letter will be sent to the society secretary or chairman. “They will be asked to ensure that nobody enters or leaves the building. There will be no problem as societies itself can start taking precautions.”
For large slums and chawls, the marking process will remain the same. Once they are marked as containment zones, their entry and exit will be sealed and police personnel will be deployed to man the areas.
Earlier, containment zones were formed after Covid-19 cases were reported in any particular building, chawl, slum or any other area. The BMC declared such areas containment zones by barricading the entire locality. The entry and exit were closed. Until last week, BMC had also marked micro containment zones – smaller areas within containment zones.
“For example, if any part of slum or building has Covid-19 patients, we used to mark it as one containment zone. If there was another case in the very next housing society or slum, then it used to become another containment zone despite their proximity. Now, it has been decided to form a large containment zone by clubbing small clusters of slums or chawls, “said an ward officer from eastern suburbs.
The Union government’s inter-ministerial state committee had recently questioned BMC over the huge number of containment zones in Mumbai. Following this, Chahal had instructed ward officers to redefine the containment zones. “The high numbers of containment zones used to reflect as if half of Mumbai was sealed… it gives an impression that there are several Covid-19 cases,” said an official.
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