The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has started putting up posters outside residences in the city whose inhabitants are in home quarantine – either because they have been exposed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or have foreign travel history — in a bid to warn others to stay away.
“The PMC has adopted various means to create awareness and alert citizens on ways to prevent the infection. This includes handbills, posters, audio and video messages, along with pasting psoters on the doors of home-quarantined residents,” said Kalpana Baliwant, assistant medical officer in PMC.
In stark red, the poster states ‘please do not visit home under quarantine’ at the top, followed by the 14-day period of quarantine, the name of the person in quarantine, number of persons in the house and the address. The poster also has the phone number of the PMC’s COVID-19 control room.
“The main aim behind putting up a poster with detailed information is to alert other residents to stay away from visiting that particular house. It will also enable neighbours and others in the area to alert the PMC if the occupant violates his/her quarantine,” said Baliwant.
A total of 2,500 posters have been printed and 1,700 have been used so far. The civic body will print 2,500 more such posters, said Baliwant.
Maharashtra has recorded multiple instances of persons in home quarantine violating directives and moving around freely. In a bid to stop such violations, the state government had started putting a stamp on the wrists of home-quarantined persons, so that they could be easily identified by the public. But even this measure failed to deter those determined to venture outside.
All Pune residents with recent foreign travel history, mainly those from the countries worst hit by the virus, and contacts of infected patients are being home quarantined and monitored through visits and regular interval phone calls.
Meanwhile, the PMC has also sought assistance from local police units to keep an eye on home-quarantined persons.
Through the Information Education Communication, the civic body is also creating awareness to contain the spread of infection and has printed lakhs of handbills and thousands of posters and banners. It has also published video clips and radio jingles to raise awareness on preventing the spread of the infection.
“We plan is to make videos of celebrities from the city, issuing messages about prevention methods…, ” said Baliwant.
Pune dist admn directs labour dept to form team to monitor situation of migrant labourers
THE PUNE district administration is taking steps to ensure that migrant labourers in the city do not suffer hardships during the lockdown period, as is being seen in various parts of the country. Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram held a meeting with Deputy Labour Commissioner Vikas Panvelkar on Friday and directed him to form a team to monitor the situation of migrant labourers and ensure that they were taken care of. He said any group of labourers that wanted help could contact the district collectorate.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had assured that the state government will take care of all migrants, presently in the state. He had directed collectors across the state to make efforts to provide relief to migrants in distress due to the nationwide lockdown.
“The team formed by the labour department as well as our own sub-divisional officers will procure information on cases, in which groups of migrant labourers are stuck without help. The teams will take measures to ensure that they have proper arrangement for food and accommodation during the period of lockdown,” said Ram.
According to the district collector, the primary responsibility of labourers — most working as construction labourers — lies with contractors and builders who brought them to work here.
“I have spoken to members of CREDAI (the real estate association) and have asked them to convey to their members that migrant labourers must be looked after,” Ram said.
Ram also said in some cases where labourers were not linked to any construction site and did not know where to go, the district administration will set up camps to provide food and shelter.
“We can open camps for them like we do in cases of floods and other calamities,” Ram said. He, however, also made it clear that the administration could not make any arrangement to send them home.
“If we arrange vehicles for them to return home, it would defeat the entire purpose of this lockdown. People are expected to remain where they are,” he said.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which suspended all ongoing civic infrastructure works last week, has also issued directives to construction firms to ensure that labourers were not left to suffer.
“We have informed real estate developers and their association (CREDAI) to ensure that labourers do not face any inconvenience in the camps set up at project sites. The PMC is busy containing the spread of the disease. So, it is not directly involved in taking care of labourers but it has issued directions to agencies in the city,” said Prashant Waghmare, City Engineer, PMC.
The Pune Metro, which has a large population of labourers working construction, too, is ensuring all help to them in various camps.
“The infrastructure work of the Metro rail has been stopped for now. There are around 2,000 labourers working for Pune Metro. It is a floating population,” said Hemant Sonawane, in-charge of public relations of Pune Metro.
The labour camps of Pune Metro are at four segment casting workshops across the city and two depot sites of Shivajinagar and Vanaz.
“Many of the labourers have left for their hometown and only around 1,200 are left in the camps. The contractor has been directed to ensure food and other necessities for them. We are also keeping a close watch,” he said.
However, there are many labourers struggling to earn and ensure food for their families. “There are 1,604 families working at the stone quarry in Wagholi. They are not able to earn their livelihood as there is no work and they are unable to manage food. Thus, the district administration has been urged to ensure that they get food,” said B M Rege, president of a stone quarry labour association.
Some citizen groups have also come forward to provide civil supplies to labourers stranded in camps. “Their bigger concern is to ensure two meals for their families than getting infected. Thus, we will collect foodgrains from donors and handing them over to the needy,” said Smita Chelemchela of JOSH Connect.
Citizens can donate to the organisation, which plans to give 5 kg rice, 2 kg dal, 1 kg sugar, 1 kg edible oil and one packet of salt, she said, adding people can contact the organisation on its website http://www.joshconnect.org. (ENS)
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