Almost 15,000 Puneites — worst hit by the highly contagious HINI Influenza or swine flu in the country with 111 confirmed cases — travel to Mumbai every day.
And almost the same number of Mumbaittes go to Pune daily. Though the dreaded flu has already claimed one — Rida Shaikh (14) of Pune — the state government does not feel it’s necessary to take any steps to ensure that the flu does not reach the financial capital.
Additional Chief Secretary Sharvari Goklhale said: “I do not think it is necessary, since swine flu is restricted to children at the moment. I am not worried at all.”
Asked if the government was planning any precautionary measures at Panchgani visited by thousands of tourists during weekends, Gokhale said swine flu at the popular hill station was restricted to residential school students and there was no need to panic.
But Dr Dilip Sarda, president, Pune unit of the Indian Medical Association, disagreed.
“Why are you asking about Mumbai alone? The entire nation is under threat and people must avoid travelling unnecessarily,” Dr Sarda said.
Even daily Mumbai-Pune commuters — road or rail — too are not worried.
All Mumbai-Pune express trains still run packed every day, said Harsha Shah, president of the Pune-Mumbai Pravasi Group. Even the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC)-run Asiad buses are doing business as usual.
“It is just a psychological fear. Travel between Mumbai-Pune hasn’t been affected,” said Om Prakash Gupta, MSRTC managing director.
With inputs from HT Political Bureau, Mumbai