Patience running out in Bapu Dham Colony and Sector 30

Savings depleted, employers threatening to sack them, no medical help available for the ailing, people want Covid-19 restrictions in the containment zones to go at any cost
Health workers and police in action in a sealed area at Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26, in Chandigarh.(HT Photo)
Health workers and police in action in a sealed area at Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26, in Chandigarh.(HT Photo)
Published on Jun 04, 2020 11:05 PM IST
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Chandigarh: Being barricaded at home and cut off from the rest of the city for about a month now because of the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases here, residents of the containment zones in Bapu Dham Colony and Sector 30 are slowly getting desperate. From fear of contracting the disease, not getting urgently needed medical care to worries over losing jobs, the psychological impact is beginning to be felt

The recent standoff between the residents and the administration, with the former demanding easing of restrictions or withdrawal of containment zone orders indicates that patience of the people locked in is slowly running out.

Of the total 302 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the city till date, 226 are from Bapu Dham and 23 from Sector 30.

“People are getting desperate here. One can see how it has started affecting youngsters forced to stay indoors. First there was curfew, and then containment. New cases are being reported every day from the colony. We are really worried and wonder when this will end,” says Ajay Koda, a resident of pocket 15, Bapu Dham Colony.

LOSING JOBS, NO MEDICAL TREATMENT

Even though the administration has assured the residents that it assist them in sorting out problems related to employment, people say their employers are not ready to listen. “So many people have already lost their jobs, what will the administration do now? The longer they remain confined at home the quicker they will lose their source of income and savings,” says a Bapu Dham resident who did not want to be named.

People suffering from health ailments too are unable to get medical treatment on time. Navneet Kumar, a resident of Sector 30, says, “My father is suffering from multiple health problems, he is completely bedridden and needs regular medical check-up. Already two deaths have taken place of aged people here. Will administration take the blame if more people die?”

Another resident of the locality, Bhuvan Mishra, says, “My 82-year-old grandfather is diabetic and his amputated hand needs dressing and we have to do it ourselves. My friend’s eight-month pregnant wife hasn’t had a single medical check-up in the last two months. Is this the way to live?”

STRUGGLING WITH SOCIAL STIGMA

On top of that, the social stigma is not easy to shake off. “We are not the cause of the disease but we are forced to feel guilty,” says Ambedkar, a resident of Bapu Dham.

Living in isolation is not easy, says Dr Sandeep Grover, professor, department of psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). “People are facing mental stress, anxiety and the fear of contracting the disease. The degree of the impact of all three on an individual depends on his overall health, age and individual coping mechanism.”

On dealing with the stigma, Grover suggests, “They should know that by being in a containment zone they are in fact working for the benefit of the society by helping contain the spread of the disease.”

DEMAND TO EASE RESTRICTIONS

On easing restrictions at the Sector 30 containment zone, local councillor Devinder Singh Babla says, “the administration should immediately exclude the locality from the zone. People cannot stand it any more and must be released from this prison.”

BDC councilor Daleep Sharma has also reiterated his demand of removing “clean” areas from containment and buffer zones.

In the wake of the residents’ protests, the Affected Area Committee met on Thursday at the UT Guest House. “Restrictions in Sector 30 are likely to be removed by Friday, while a decision on Bapu Dham Colony will be taken next week,” says senior UT official who attended the meeting, requesting anonymity.

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