Surya Vihar: Residents of one of city’s oldest condos are self-sufficient, help each other out

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Published on Apr 07, 2020 11:35 PM IST
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BySadia Akhtar, Gurugram

One of the city’s oldest condominiums, Surya Vihar, in Sector 21, is harnessing the potential of its residents and staff both to deal with the ongoing lockdown that was announced to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Located at the Delhi-Gurugram border, the condominium has sought support from residents who are readily volunteering in different capacities to cater to the needs of fellow community members.

Sanjiv Bhargava, president, Surya Vihar Residents’ Welfare Association, said that community members at the over 30-year-old complex were extending a helping hand to each other. “We have a good number of senior citizens living with us. Both members of the RWA and other volunteers make it a point to stay in touch with the elderly regularly, in case any assistance is required by them. Residents keep a check on each other and the staff,” said Bhargava.

He added that the condominium has put in place a kitchen service for residents. “We have young people staying with us who can’t cook and are dependent on external sources of food. We reached out to one of our residents who used to work as a chef with a hotel chain and he came on board to start a kitchen service for the community,” said Bhargava.

Residents can place orders for vegetarian food for lunch and dinner. For lunch, the order has to be placed by 11am and the orders are delivered from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. For dinner, the order has to be placed by 7pm and the orders are delivered from 8.30pm to 10pm.

Sony Yadav, former RWA president, said that the kitchen service was proving to be useful in the time of limited or no app-based food delivery. “The in-house food facility is beneficial for bachelors or students who are not adept at cooking. It also ensures that exposure to the outside world is reduced. So far, the service has been working smoothly, said Yadav.

The condominium has two grocery stores and vegetable shops within the premises that cater to the needs of the residents. While social distancing markers have not been created on the ground, shopkeepers ensure that people maintain a gap of two metres while purchasing commodities.

Given the lockdown, the apartment has cut down the strength of its staff and curtailed services. The condominium is managing with a skeleton staff that keeps essential services running, and the size of the maintenance team has been reduced to five people per shift. The staff has been provided with boarding and lodging facilities within the condominium to reduce the chances of exposure.

“We have curtailed our staff and provided boarding and lodging facilities to them within the complex. We don’t want our staff to be exposed to any kind of risk. They are staying within and providing services with the support of the community,” said Bhargava. The RWA has also asked women employees to stay home. “We decided that it was better for women in the support team to stay back home. We wanted to ensure that their families are taken care of and children are not left unattended,” said Bhargava. The condominium has also advised residents to minimise garbage generation since the majority of the cleaning staff at the condominium stays in Delhi, and only a skeleton staff is staying within the complex.

The condominium has restricted the entry of part-time domestic help such as maids, cooks, drivers among others. Residents were advised to give paid leaves to their domestic help. Both food and courier delivery services at the condominium are continuing and have been restricted to the entrance of the condominium gate. Residents are required to collect their parcels from the gate. All persons entering the building with deliveries are thermal-scanned and mandatorily required to use sanitisers. Within the condominium, common areas are regularly sanitised and disinfected daily. The lifts are disinfected twice a day. Newspapers are being delivered at the condominium but not until the doorsteps. Residents are required to collect the papers from the guards’ desk in respective blocks.

For medical assistance, the condominium has turned to a resident doctor for help who can be consulted in the evening during a fixed slot. The facility is aimed at ensuring that residents avoid venturing out for minor illnesses and be given timely treatment, as the situation may demand. Additionally, paramedics and other medical professionals are allowed entry into the condominium.

“The condominium used to see a daily footfall of around 300 people earlier, but now, it has dropped to less than 25 people a day. People are abiding by the measures and helping each other out. Everyone understands the gravity of social distancing,” said Bhargava.

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