A security guard is seen checking the status of a house help via the C19 Geo Check app at Sujay Garden Society, Mukundnagar.(HT/PHOTO)
A security guard is seen checking the status of a house help via the C19 Geo Check app at Sujay Garden Society, Mukundnagar.(HT/PHOTO)

Pune man develops app to track if house helps come from containment zones

Brijen Shah, an electrical engineer has developed the ‘C19 Geo Check’ application which can identify if the person comes from a containment zone using data from the covidhotspot.in website
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Jigar Hindocha
UPDATED ON JUN 08, 2020 04:18 PM IST

Life is limping back to normalcy for Punekars with the easing of restrictions and offices slowly opening up. However, residents are still facing a predicament of whether they should call their house helps back to work or not. With work life resuming, residents are feeling the pinch of the absence of help for household chores and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has put in place strict measures on the entry of house helps inside societies.

One of the guidelines states that house helps should not come from containment zones and to strictly implement this rule in his society, an electrical engineer from Sujay Garden Society, Mukundnagar, developed a software application. Brijen Shah developed the ‘C19 Geo Check’ application which can identify if the person comes from a containment zone or a non-containment zone. Using data from the covidhotspot.in website, the application tracks the location and verifies it with the containment zone list on the website.

“Our society has 2,000 members and most of us now are resuming work and hence, to help deal with household chores, I decided to develop an application which can help our society members,” said Shah, who runs computer hardware shop for the past 30 years.

At least 350 domestic help workers visit Sujay Garden Society in Mukundnagar daily. The society members started using the application on June 4 and the app has received good response, said Shah.

“The app uses data from the covidhotspot.in website as it provides us detailed information about the containment zones in the city. With a little help from my friend, I made this software in eight days. It can be operated easily by anyone,” added Shah.

Society chairman Vijay Sanghavi appreciates efforts of Shah. “I think our society is the first to use such an application. I am happy we are safe,” added Sanghavi.

“Security wise this app is very useful as it is providing information about zones from which the person is coming. If we can upgrade the app and add the loop which can also track travelling history of maids then it can be more beneficial,” said Ajay Kate, senior software engineer, eGain communication, Kalyaninagar.

Shekhar Gaikwad, Pune municipal commissioner, said, “Many youngsters make new apps everyday, which is good, but one must keep their life simple and just focus on taking care of themselves. Just refer to Aarogya Setu app. We cannot guarantee how long other apps will sustain.”

“I cannot say to what extent is this app reliable, because we cannot track the movement of house helps like in Arogya Setu app. Just with scanning QR code we can say from which zone one is visiting but what, if the house help is coming from a different location than the address which is stored in QR code,” said Sagar Bedmutha, founder and CEO of Mezo Messaging App.

Other societies across the city are also finding out ways to protect themselves from spread of the coronavirus infection. “We have an ‘apna house’ app, which has the details of the maid and once she/he enters the premises, the house owner gets the message of arrival. Thermal guns, portable wash basins and sanitisers have been placed at the society gates. Once the maid has been sanitised, entry inside the building is allowed,” said Luv Chourasia, of Margosa Heights, Mohammadwadi.

How app works

Name: C19 Geo Check

Back end (containment check): Address details of house helps have been stored in the back end, which is automatically linked to check address on the covidhotspot.in website. We check if the address falls in the containment zone or not. The check is done at 6am everyday and a report is generated with the containment status of each house help.

Front end: (Grant or Deny): A mobile application is installed on the mobile phones of security guards at the society gates, who scan the QR code posted on the identity (ID) card of the house help.

How check happens: The house helps ave been provided with a unique ID card which has a QR code. Every house help has to scan that QR code in the security personnel’s mobile application and if a red screen appears, it means the house help has come from a containment zone and access is denied. If a green screen appears, then the house help is granted access to the society.

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