11% of Pune city’s population living in containment zones, but not many follow Covid-19 rules
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is facing a massive challenge of maintaining discipline in micro-containment zones to prevent the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 infection. According to PMC’s latest map released on September 3, as many as 74 areas covering 5.25 lakh or 11.21 per cent of the city’s population lives in containment zones.
However, at most places, no social distancing norms are observed with people seemingly oblivious to the pandemic threat as they are seen mingling with each other, including senior citizens and children. Small kids in the arms of womenfolk were also seen without masks openly moving in the area.
When HT visited the spot at 3.30pm on Sunday at Phadke Haud, an area under Covid-19 containment zone, residents could be seen buying vegetables some 500 metres away from the thoroughfare in the inside lane.
PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar also admitted that there is an immediate need to tighten restrictions and act against people who are flouting norms. “There are 5.25 lakh people, which is 11 per cent of the city’s population, under the containment zones. However, implementation of rules in these zones are not as strict as needed. Residents of such areas say it’s been six months since the lockdown and they can’t be permanently under restrictions. So, this is one area where we are not getting as much success as needed,” Kumar said during a meeting on Saturday.
In Ramoshi gate neighbourhood, the tenements are so close to each other that residents were openly moving in the area without any fear of the virus. Youngsters were seen taking their mortorbikes out for joyrides around 4pm without masks. No health department official could be seen there for enforcement of Covid-19 guidelines.
A report by the state government officials assigned for spot visit in Pune reveals that despite a surge in Covid-19 cases in Pune, the containment zones have seen movement of residents with violation of social distancing norms at market places and grocery shops while youths are seen moving on bikes in large containment zones.
Azim Gudakuwala, a social worker from Bhavani peth, said, “Though Bhavani peth is not in the containment zone any more, we have seen the worst here and yet people are not exercising caution before stepping out. Wearing masks is mandatory and maintaining social distance is the need of the hour. In the borderline areas of micro containment zones attached to our area, we see that residents are not adhering to safety guidelines.”
“I think that the virus infection is increasing because of people to people transmission. Now is the time for the residents to take a call and exercise self-discipline to protect their health and fellow residents,” said Gudakuwala.
Akash Sable, a resident of Sinhgad road, said, “Earlier strict lockdown was implemented and residents were serious too. At that time too, people in slums were not following the norms. As of today, they are moving freely and not following the restriction norms. We need a strong health system to tackle the Covid-19 menace.”
“Also Covid-19 literacy among citizens is the need of the hour and presently, citizens don’t have any idea of how deadly the disease is,” he added.
Of the 15 wards, maximum containment areas are in Hadapsar-Mundhwa, Kothrud-Bavdhan, Aundh-Baner, Dhankawadi-Sahakarnagar and Ahmednagar road-Wadgaonsheri wards. These areas are on the periphery of Pune city, which indicate the spread of Covid, first concentrated in “old Pune areas” like Bhavani peth and Dhole Patil road and now in the outskirts.
Sunita Gaikwad, a resident of Upper Indiranagar, who works in a private firm, said, “We follow the norms, but many are not aware of the virus and have a casual approach towards the infection. Neither the PMC nor the policemen visit our area to implement the law, so citizens have become fearless about the law.”