South Mumbai's ‘A’ ward, which is the city's commercial nerve centre (Marine Drive, Nariman Point) and has some of the most affluent residential pockets (Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Churchgate), may be BMC’s new headache.
Presently, ‘A’ ward has 475 active cases; in all, 2276 cases have been reported in this ward thus far.
But ever since the state government loosened the lockout, cases have spiralled.
Matters have come to such a pass that no less than 60 residential buildings have been partially sealed by the civic officials. Besides, at least four buildings in the residential areas of Marine Drive and Churchgate have been entirely sealed.
Laxmi Bhavan at Marine Drive is one such building; the inevitable happened after 29 cases were reported from the premises.
Next followed Shreyas building which was also entirely sealed by the BMC officials, after 13 cases were reported.
Chheda Sadan and Iswar Bhuvan, which are in the vicinity of Churchgate railway station, were also entirely quarantined after they reported 12 and 13 cases each, respectively.
"As the lockdown began unravelling, people started coming out of their houses for their customary jog and stroll at the Marine Drive. They shouldn't be blamed entirely because when relaxations are given, people feel there is a perceptible improvement in the situation, which is, of course, not always the case," ‘A’ ward’s BJP corporator Harshita Narwekar told FPJ.
She pointed out that the population of senior citizens is more than 50 per cent in ‘A’ ward; that makes the area even more vulnerable.
"Even otherwise, ‘A’ ward has a floating population of 48 lakhs; also, from Mantralaya to the Police headquarters, all the important addresses in the city are in south Mumbai" stated Narwekar.
"Given the population density, not enough tests have been done. I have written to the BMC and health officials demanding ground zero testing, so that more asymptomatic patients can be unearthed," added the corporator.
Residents of ‘A’ ward feel they have committed a blunder by allowing domestic help and other staff on the premises. But such is their dependence on domestic help and drivers that ‘routine’ becomes an overwhelming consideration even in the face of the rising Covid-19 cases.
"Also, many employees who had gone to their villages during lockdown have now returned and started working without getting themselves tested or staying in quarantine," stated Ashok Gupta, vice president Marine Drive Citizen's Association.
"Housing societies should have tested their domestic help before reinstating them. Many of households had also started sharing domestic help, which had done further damage" stated Gupta.