MUMBAI: At one end, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's G (North) ward is struggling to contain the CoVID-19 outbreak in Asia's largest slum Dharavi. At the other, it has managed to curb the spread of the virus in other parts of the ward with no new cases being reported for three consecutive days.
One of the worst affected wards, with the cases in Dharavi surging rapidly, is doing everything from sealing slum pockets to shutting down roads and even working on crowdfunding to continue to supply food and other essentials in affected areas.
On Tuesday, 42 new cases and four deaths were reported from Dharavi, the highest in a single day, taking its tally to 330, including 18 deaths. Meanwhile, the tally in Dadar and Mahim together jumped to 63 after four news cases were reported on Tuesday following a hiatus of three days.
With each passing day, dealing with the residents of Dharavi and containment measures have become a challenging task for both the police and BMC.
Dharavi has an area of just over 2.1 square kilometres and a population of about 700,000. Officials of G (North) have now changed their strategy for Dharavi.
"We are focussing on shifting/isolating a maximum number of people into institutional quarantine and testing them there itself. Apart from this, we are also working on the idea of crowdfunding. We are preparing a list with the help of NGOs in various areas.
The list will have details of the people who are physically challenged and are genuine and really deprived of essential things. Once the list is ready, we will provide every essential item, from a match box to groceries and face masks, through crowdfunding. Also, people are cooperating with us, it's the Ramzan period.
So, we have asked the corporators to calculate and give us a list of Muslim families in their wards so that we can send them food packets. We are also giving food packets to the people who are demanding for it on our helpline numbers," said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Commissioner, G North, told Free Press Journal.
The civic body has also started sending food packets to Muslim families observing Roza (fast) at their doorstep in the evening to discourage them from leaving their homes and crowding on the streets or at markets. "The holy month of Ramzan has begun. Considering this, we have asked local corporators to provide us with the number of Muslim families in the wards.
We will arrange for providing food packets to them daily. Apart from this, we are giving food packets to people who are demanding the same on our helpline numbers," said Dighavkar. The first positive case of coronavirus in Dharavi was reported on April 1. By April 28, the number of cases reached 330, including 18 deaths.
A major part of this slum pocket lives in small 10 by 10 huts with mere sanitation facilities amidst thousands of small scale industries and godowns. Initially, G North was at the bottom of the ward-wise list. The numbers spiralled upward after its first case was detected in Baliga Nagar, Dharavi, where a 56-year-old man with no travel history was found positive for CoVID-19.