YourSpace: Resuming civic works in Pune unavoidable, but prevention should be top priority
The central, state and local bodies are taking steps to resume developmental projects that are manpower centric. These civic works could pose a risk of Covid-19 spread. As majority of the workforce involved will be migrant labourers and people in the low-income group, readers share the steps that authorities should take to keep the virus at bay.Updated: Aug 30, 2020, 17:25 IST
PUNE The coronavirus pandemic has badly affected our economy and people need to get back to work and start earning. Starting work/projects is the first step towards normalcy and let people take responsibility for safeguarding themselves. Workspaces that do not require people to throng at close quarters can definitely resume. At this stage, India cannot afford unemployed people and needs to find a solution to develop herd immunity.
Prevention is the only cure
Easing restrictions is unavoidable. It is not possible for any government to take foolproof measures to avoid any possible cases of spread of infection. Even developed countries like the US are unable to do so. The reason is that Covid-19 pandemic is not only a medical or health issue, but it is also an issue of social practices and hygiene, habits and taking precautions. Social reform is the need of the hour across all sections of society. For a developing economy of ours, continual lockdown is not a solution. Rather people should inculcate cleanliness and hygiene habits like wearing mask, following social distancing norm, washing hands and others. Easing restrictions means potential exposure of employees and labourers to the virus in all sections of industry and services. Employers should make enough arrangements for the safety of their employees. At the same time, local government bodies should look at increasing testing, isolation facilities and treatment centres.
Dr Vishwas Chavan
Spread public awareness on safety precautions
I do not think that whatever steps the government authorities and local bodies have taken are adequate. Right now, on the streets, one can find four people out of ten not wearing masks or following safety norms. Many are not following the proper hygiene routine. The government should focus on spreading more awareness regarding safety precautions to flatten the Covid-19 curve.
Residents’ contribution is equally important
The government is taking steps to control the pandemic, but people’s contribution is equally important. They are not following the simple SMS (sanitiser, mask and social distancing) norms which are very much essential to fight against the spread of Covid-19. Many times, the labour class of the society is not much aware of the hygiene habits and do not have access to basic necessities. Many people are not even wearing masks while stepping out and spit in public places. These offenders should be penalised. Labs and tests have increased and jumbo Covid-19 centres are also ready, which is a positive sign. In short, people participation and government’s efforts can together help in fighting the pandemic.
Government ill-prepared to manage pandemic
The Covid-19 restrictions in the city are being eased, but the number of positive cases of people infected with the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 infection is on the rise. The government and local bodies are ill-prepared to manage the pandemic. The local authorities should closely monitor the situation and impose a lockdown if necessary. Other cities with more population and fewer resources have managed the pandemic better, and we despite being a Smart City and an IT hub failed to keep a check on the rise in cases. There is confusion among residents with regards to rules and half-hearted implementation of the lockdown. Even today we can see many people flouting safety norms and not even wearing masks. I have seen masks hanging around the employees’ necks in grocery stores. Not only local bodies, even residents should behave responsibly.
Arunkumar Nair, convenor, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchyat Chapter, Vishrantwadi
Stop announcing unreasonable targets for political mileage
Civic development works are important and must be resumed wherever possible. State leaders are seen announcing unreasonable targets for civic projects to gain political mileage, which is alarming. In the city, it is seen that there is a race to resume civic projects, but some are uncalled for. The jumbo facility at College of Engineering, Pune, grounds was constructed at breakneck speed. It was done putting at risk the lives of the workforce involved, mainly migrant and low-income group labourers. They were seen working in rains, 24X7 without proper safety measures. On the contrary, at sites of road construction and water supply related projects, Smart City projects, labourers are working with proper care. Every stakeholder must recognise and respect the human rights of labourers specifically the right of protection from being affected by Covid-19. Reckless civic work without due care will lead to an increase in Covid-19 risk exposure of the low income and migrant workforce.
Satya Muley, advocate