NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday visited the headquarters of Pimpri-Chichwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to take stock of how the civic body was handling the Covid-19 pandemic. NCP leaders said it was Pawar’s first visit to PCMC headquarters in 18 years.
During his over one-hour stay at the PCMC headquarters, Pawar closely watched the functioning of the Covid war room, praised the system in place, made a few suggestions and promised all help from the state government in tackling the situation. Mayor Usha Dhore, Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, BJP House leader Namdev Dhake, corporators from BJP, NCP and Shiv Sena, as well as civic officials were also present during the interaction.
The NCP chief expressed concern about “mask-less” local residents. “When I was coming to Pimpri-Chinchwad, on the way, I saw people walking around without masks. Even two-wheeler riders and many of those driving four-wheelers were without masks. It seems people are still not taking the rule about wearing masks seriously. To control the spread of Covid, we should strictly implement the mask norm,” Pawar told PCMC officials.
After asking about the mortality rate in Pimpri-Chinchwad, compared to Pune city and rural areas, Pawar said, “All efforts should be made to reduce mortality rate of the industrial city. For this, early detection and early treatment is the key. Awareness campaigns should continue all the time. We should not lower our guard.”
Hardikar told him, “YCMH’s mortality rate is the lowest among hospitals in Pune district. Besides following the government protocol for treatment, our doctors have been implementing plasma therapy at YCMH, which has yielded good results. If plasma is given to patients at an early stage, they make good recovery.”
Urging Pawar to take up the issue of private hospitals charging high amounts for plasma, Hardikar said, “While at government hospitals, plasma is available at a cheaper rate, in private banks, it costs Rs 8,500, which is not affordable for poor patients. Besides allowing more private banks to collect plasma, the state government should find some solution so that plasma can be available at affordable costs for poor patients.”
Pawar promised to take up with the issue with the state government.
NCP corporator Yogesh Behl, who was present in the war room during the interaction, said, “Besides asking PCMC officials to take necessary steps to reduce the mortality rate, Pawar also asked them to step up testing. He sought to know how many persons are traced after one positive case is detected… When the PCMC officials said 13-14, he asked them to test at least 20 persons, which will go a long way in checking the spread of the infection.”
Pawar also asked PCMC officials about the jumbo Covid hospital that has been set up at Nehrunagar. “In view of the problems faced by the jumbo hospital at COEP, the NCP chief asked the PCMC officials whether they have adequate medical staff, ventilators and oxygen beds. He said there was a need to properly manage and coordinate the functioining of the Nehrunagar Covid hospital as the Pune jumbo hospital is already under fire,” said Behl.
“The NCP chief said at least 20 per cent of the people he saw were moving around without masks, and the PCMC should take action against them. I told him that we had collected a fine of Rs 2 crore from people found without masks. We have also set up nuisance detection squads to catch people without masks,” Hardikar told The Indian Express.
NCP leader Sanjog Waghere, who also briefed Pawar about the Covid situation, told The Indian Express, “Pawar saheb had last visited PCMC headquarters 18 years ago, along with George Fernandes. Today’s visit was a big surprise for us. We were informed just a couple of hours ago that he is coming to Pimpri-Chinchwad.”
Pawar also donated a box of remdesivir injections for poor patients. “This was the second box which was donated to PCMC. Earlier, he had given me one box which I had passed on to the PCMC,” said Waghere
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