March 18, 2021 11:26:59 am
With Covid-19 positive cases surging in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Mayor Usha Dhore has mooted a “janata curfew” on Saturdays and Sundays to keep the situation from going out of control. The mayor’s suggestion has received support from Opposition parties such as the NCP and Shiv Sena. Even civic activists are strongly in favour of a weekend lockdown.
“Every day we are witnessing rise in Covid-19 cases. In early February we had around 60 cases every day. Now, the cases have gone beyond 1000. If this rate is not reduced, we will have a huge problem in handling the situation vis-a-vis hospital beds,” the mayor told The Indian Express on Thursday. The mayor is from the BJP, which rules the PCMC.
“Though I have suggested a ‘janata curfew’ on Saturdays and Sundays, I think it should not be voluntary. If we try to do it this way, not everyone will respond. Since the government has not issued any directive, the civic and the police administration should enforce the lockdown for two days at local level on their own,” the mayor said.
The mayor added, “If we remain spectators now, we might face a worse situation in future. And at that time, it will be difficult for us to manage it. Therefore, we need to act decisively now.”
Lamenting that people are still mingling freely, Dhore said,”It is sad to notice that people are not observing Covid appropriate behaviour and are moving out of their homes even when they don’t have any important work to do. One should move out of their homes only if it is necessary like going to workplace or hospital.”
Extending his party’s support to the mayor’s suggestion, Sanjog Waghere, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad unit of NCP, which is the main opposition party in PCMC, said,”It is true that we need to avoid overcrowding to stop the spread of the coronvirus. The idea of a two-day lockdown is a good one and the administration should implement it, from this week itself.”
Waghere said the chain has to be broken or else we might see rapid rise in cases. “Since we cannot bring entire economic activity to a halt, the idea of two day lockdown suits as most of the offices are closed on these two days. It will also not affect the working population,” he said.
Yogesh Babar, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Shiv Sena, said, “In the current situation, the Sena will support the idea of a two-day lockdown. Let us not bring politics into it. Let us work for the welfare of our people by joining hands and implementing measures to save citizens’ life. Citizens will not approve of a long lockdown as it deprives them of their livelihood. Therefore, two days janata curfew is a good solution.”
Babar, however, lamented that the state government’s directives regarding strict measures to control the spread of the virus are not being implemented seriously by the civic and police administration. “Overcrowding is happening at public places and at functions. But it seems like the police and civic administrations are not initiating strict action against such violations. There is a need to implement the government directives to control the spread of the virus strictly,” he said.
Civic activists have also thrown their weight behind the two-day lockdown. “The idea of a two-day lockdown is good. This is because a week-long or 15-day lockdown will hit the poor very hard. If this measure is implemented, it will create more awareness among the people and help to control the spread of the virus without affecting the livelihood of the poor,” said civic activist Manav Kamble.
Slamming the civic administration, Kamble said, “Last year, the PCMC administration led by the then municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar and additional commissioner Santosh Patil and their team handled the situation effectively. As a result, the spread of the virus was controlled. However, the present administration led by Rajesh Patil seem to be clueless as to how to tame the spread. As citizens, we don’t see effective measures. For instance, people are still moving around without masks and overcrowding is happening at markets, marraiges and public functions. There should be strong action against the violators otherwise the situation will turn very bad going by the current trend of rising cases.”
Echoing the views, another activist Maruti Bhapkar said,”The PCMC and police officials should step on to the ground and not work out of their offices. They should closely monitor their flying squads and other teams who are tasked to catch the violators. The presence of officials on roads and public places will act as a deterrent as teams will work effectively and people will then adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour.”
Another aspect, said Bhapar, is the lack of involvement of people in controlling the spread of the virus. “The PCMC should involve NGOs, women’s self help groups and even political party workers in the task of controlling the spread of the virus. They should be given specific areas to ensure that cases do not rise through creation of awareness among the people about observing COVID-19 norms,” he said.
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