COVID-19: South Mumbai residents object to civic body’s policy of sealing buildings
Photo Credit: ANI

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) latest rule on sealing buildings has left the residents of large housing societies in a tight spot now.

As per the new rules, if five or more cases are reported from a building, then the entire building will be sealed and if less than five cases are reported, then only the floors from which cases are reported will be sealed.

Residents living in skyscrapers said that as there are no cluster cases, the BMC is sealing floors on the basis of individual case count, if more than five cases are reported from only one floor then also the whole building is being sealed. Residents said that this is causing them sheer inconvenience.

Many of those living in South Bombay has already brought this issue to local municipal corporators and have also approached BMC ward officials seeking relaxation.

Joannette Remedios, a resident and former chairperson of Sunita Building in Colaba said that only nine cases were reported from two floors of her nine-storeyed apartment. However, the BMC had sealed the entire building on March 12.

"Most of the residents in our building are senior citizens, many of them have booked slots for getting vaccines and have serious medical issues but now that the buildings are sealed, they are facing inconvenience for going out," Remedios told the Free Press Journal.

"The positive patients are indoors and they are not in contact with other residents, so it's completely impractical now to seal an entire building," Remedios added.

Sharad Dalal - resident and treasurer of Jupiter Apartment- Cuffe Parade, said that only six cases were reported from four flats in his building. There are a total of 117 flats in his 31 storeyed building.

"Cases have been reported from four flats which are not even five percent of the entire building population, the BMC should have sealed only the affected floors and the rest of the floors should be allowed to function normally," Dalal told FPJ.

"We are carrying out fumigation drives every day, we have also approached the ward officials and requested them to analyse our situation a bit rationally," Dalal added.

Harshita Narwekar - BJP corporator of Cuffe Parade said that the BMC needs to restructure its policies of sealed buildings.

"Mumbai is a diverse city and a blanket rule isn't the only option, local ward offices should also be given authorities to amend the rules as per the local demography," Narwekar told FPJ.

Dhaval Shah - founder and spokesperson of Lokhandwala Oshiwara and Citizen's Association (LOCA) said the BMC needs to prepare a slab system according to the floors and population in each building.

"If a building has more than ten storeys then the positive case limit should be increased from five to at least ten, the BMC needs to revise its rules or else people will hide if there are covid cases reported from the building," Shah told FPJ.

Meanwhile, a senior BMC official requesting anonymity said that they cannot do much unless the high command amends the rules.

"We are sealing the entire buildings for everyone's safety because if we don't do so, then there are chances that people may sneak out which would put lives of other people at risk," said the official.

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Free Press Journal