How Bapu Dham Colony became Chandigarh’s first major hotspot
Since April 24, 23 cases have been reported in the areaUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 05:38 IST
With 23 Covid positive cases and counting, Bapu Dham, a rehabilitated slum colony with high population density, has emerged as the city’s first major hotspot registering almost one-third of the total positive cases to date.
Named after Mahatma Gandhi, the colony came up in the mid-70s to rehabilitate a former slum of Sector 26. Later, small plots, not bigger than one-and-a-half marlas, were allotted to the residents in three different phases.
Dalip Sharma, the MC councillor representing Bapu Dham, said that more than 50,000 people lived here in close proximity in nearly 2,500 multi-storeyed small houses. And this is what makes it susceptible to the spread of a highly contagious disease like the Covid-19.
TRACING PATIENT 1
It all started on April 24 after an operation theatre attendant at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Narender Kumar, of house number 533 here, was found to be infected.
Kumar went on to infect five members of his family, and over a dozen people in the nearby house number 535, besides multiple people in house numbers 528, 539 and 585—all primary and secondary contacts of Kumar.
Authorities believe that many of those infected were part of his marriage anniversary party. The UT administration had hoped the virus doesn’t spread further, but every new case has started a chain reaction of it’s own.
Of the three fresh Covid cases reported in the colony on Wednesday, two are labourers living in a single room. They have four other persons as roommates and 26 community contacts. All of them live in the same building.
The third person who tested positive on Wednesday lives in a separate room, in a different house. He is a plumber and has three family and 72 community contacts living in the same building. All are under observation for symptoms.
100 HOUSES SEALED
Approximately 100 houses (numbers 517 to 614) have been completely sealed while movement has been restricted in the remaining part of the colony that is under strict vigil of both the police and the paramilitary staff.
Kavita Kumari, a resident of house number 555, said no essential commodities had been supplied in the last two days, but her concern is the fate of the poor in the locality: “There are migrant labourers who have absolutely no ration or food available, and no way to get it either.”
Rani, a resident of house number 520, said her primary concern was that the police should speak politely with the residents. She said there were many houses in the sealed locality struggling to get essentials like flour and oil. “We were snubbed for asking for ration. We do understand that the situation is difficult, but surviving is difficult without essentials especially when most families have small kids.”
BAPU DHAM POLICE POST IN-CHARGE TRANSFERRED
The Chandigarh Police on Wednesday ordered the transfer of sub-inspector (SI) Gurmeet Singh, the former police post in-charge at Bapu Dham Colony, for lapses in duty.
In an order issued by superintendent of police (SP) Manoj Kumar Meena, the SI was transferred to the Police Lines and sub-inspector Rohitash Kumar Yadav was made the new in-charge of the post with immediate effect.
The reshuffle comes after it came to light that Patient 1 Narender Kumar had organised a rooftop party at his house in the colony and invited many people. However, the Sector 26 station house officer (SHO), police post in-charge and beat officials had said they were completely unaware of the event.
A written explanation has been sought from Sector 26 SHO Narinder Patial. If found guilty, sources said he could be transferred, too.