BHOPAL: On March 25 last year, the lockdown came into force. The aim of the lockdown was to keep everyone indoors to bring the corona pandemic to a halt. In that situation, too, there were a few who had to come out of their homes to work for the man in the street. And a female IAS officer and the then commissioner of Bhopal, Kalpana Shrivastava, was one of them. From the day the lockdown was declared and till May 2 when she was transferred, she kept an eye on each development in the division.
There was a scarcity of food, medicine and shelter because of the arrival of the migrant workers in the city. Uphill was the task to deal with that kind of emergency situation. She picked up the gauntlet. As Shrivastava was also the administrator of Bhopal Municipal Corporation, she had to ensure that everyone got rations and other essential items. She took care of her family, too. She says she took all precautions that her husband and two daughters did not get infected.
Shrivastava says, on reaching home, she used to keep her bags outside and entered her room only after getting herself sanitised. She met her children only after taking a bath. Shrivastava says the virus could never frighten her, because everyone cheered her up. She could not go far, since she had to manage household affairs, too. She followed all corona-protection norms.
Shrivastava says, just after the lockdown, the challenge was to keep the residents out of any problems. She says, while the coronavirus affected Bhopal the most in the division, the situation in other districts was normal. So, she paid full attention to Bhopal and took feedback on the situation from collectors daily.
It was she who initiated the step to send vegetables to the house of every resident through the vehicles of the municipal corporation. A few people wanted to go out of the city. It was necessary to arrange passes for them, besides she had to ensure that those passes were not misused.
Shrivastava had to deal with the arrangements at Hamidia Hospital, since she was the commissioner. She says, initially, she had to knock together the facilities for testing corona patients, as those amenities were not available on those days. A virology laboratory was set up at the Hamidia Hospital, where 150 patients were initially tested. She says it was only after that that the testing facilities were bolstered.
A corona treatment centre was set up at a private hospital on the outskirts of the city, so that the patients suffering from other diseases and admitted to Hamidia Hospital might not have any difficulty. In Hamidia too, arrangements for treating corona patients had to be made. The doctors at the hospital cooperated with the administration.
She says, apart from that, the poor had to be provided with essential commodities. Therefore, she had to see that the public distribution system did not go out of order. She says it was an extraordinary situation which could be overcome only with the cooperation of the police and the administration.
Shrivastava says that the resurgence of corona cases has again brought the same situation as was seen last year and that it is necessary to maintain one’s cool. She says, “Eligible people should immediately get vaccinated, and everyone must keep their guard up against the virus.”