Officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which has focused most of its efforts on micro-containment zones to keep coronavirus cases under control, are concerned about the increasing number of cases outside these zones.
As per available data, in the fourth phase of the lockdown, from May 18 to May 29, 1,269 new cases were reported in containment zones, but as many as 800 were reported from outside containment zones.
From May 3 to May 17, 25.36 per cent of total cases were reported from then non-containment zone areas, but this percentage has increased to 38.67 from May 18 to May 29.
Even the ward offices earlier relatively unaffected by the pandemic – Aundh-Baner, Kothrud-Bavdhan, Warje-Karvenagar and Sinhagad Road — have seen the number of cases rise to 20, 27, 42 and 127, respectively.
While Pune district is in the ‘red zone’, with over 7,000 cases, the PMC, with thousands of cases, is one of the civic bodies also categorised as a red zone. But instead of imposing stringent restrictions on the entire city, civic officials had decided to segregate the worst-hit areas into micro-containment zones. While these micro-containment zones still followed strict lockdown norms, rules for the rest of the city were eased, and shops and markets were allowed to reopen.
At the end of the third phase of the lockdown, 1,242 cases were reported from the 69 micro-containment zones in the city, and 422 cases from outside these zones. At the beginning of the fourth phase of the lockdown, PMC removed 24 zones from the list and added 20 zones, taking the total number of micro-containment zones to 65.
Initially, the ruling BJP in the PMC had opposed the civic administration’s move to declare micro-containment zones, with Mayor Murlidhar Mohol publicly expressing displeasure about relaxing lockdown norms in the rest of the city. However, he later extended his support, saying the lockdown couldn’t be permanent but testing facilities should be increased to contain the spread of disease.
PMC to buy masks from local SHGs
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to provide income source to the civic body-affiliated self help groups (SHGs) by purchasing masks from them for distribution among the residents.
“It is necessary for every citizen to use mask to check the spread of Covid-19. The municipal commissioner has given permission to purchase the cotton masks from the ward development fund and has allowed the purchase of masks prepared by SHGs,” said Shantanu Goyal, additional municipal commissioner.
The double-layer cotton mask would be purchased at a rate of Rs 10 per piece, he said, adding: “Civic departments can purchase masks from SHGs worth Rs 2 lakh without requiring a tender process.”
The additional municipal commissioner said rates of products prepared by SHGs have been fixed by the PMC.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sunil Indulkar said the PMC would purchase 12 lakh cotton masks and work orders have been issued for seven lakh at Rs 1.38 crore. He added that around 5 lakh masks have been distributed so far.
The PMC has also been getting cloth masks from the local area development fund of legislators. Over one lakh cloth masks have been purchased through the MLA LAD fund of Shiv Sena’s Nilham Gorhe. (ENS)
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