F North ward going the Dharavi way?
F North ward going the Dharavi way?

Mumbai: With rapidly spiking coronavirus cases in F North ward, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials fear the ward might soon face Dharavi like situation.

In just a fortnight, the ward has witnessed an increase in the number of positive COVID19 cases by over 55 per cent. A total of 750 COVID-19 cases including 29 deaths, as on May 9, has placed F (North) ward among the worst affected areas in the city.

To prevent cluster outbreak in the area, Gajanan Bellale, Assistant Municipal Commissioner (AMC) of the ward, has announced a total lockdown in the area from May 8 to May 17. The F north ward constitutes areas such as Matunga, Sion, Wadala, Antop Hill and parts of Prabhadevi.

After Dharavi, Wadala East is the most densely populated area in Mumbai, with a population of more than five lakh. It starts from the end of Wadala Bridge on the eastern side and goes up to the Eastern Express Highway.

The slum pockets in the ward lack basic facilities like toilets, sanitation, and proper roads. About five to 10 people stay in small shanties of 100 square feet. For such a large population, there are only 55 toilets blocks with 10 to 12 toilet seats in each block.

Bellale said over 30 cases have been detected in last six days from just Kartak Nagar in Wadala village. Following this, we have identified it as a containment area and sealed the area. “For curbing the cases in Wadala village which has a population of 15,000 we have used similar containment model which was used in Worli-Koliwada,” Bellale said.

According to the plan, the BMC is segregating high risk contacts and low-risk contacts in Wadala village. The high-risk contacts will be shifted to institutional isolation centres, whereas the low-risk contacts will be allowed to stay in the village under home quarantine.

All four entry points to Wadala village - Bhaironath Road, Sewree-Wadala Cross Road, Ganesh Mandir Road and Jain Derasar Road - have been sealed completely," Bellale informed. Till date, 90 people from Wadala village have been put under institutional quarantine whereas 30 residents have been asked to stay under home quarantine.

Bellale added that considering the increasing number of cases they have written to Wadala Police asking them to take action against non-compliant residents who are found to be violating lockdown.

Bellale said, "All measures taken by us to contain the spread will go down the drain if people keep flouting lockdown and violate social distancing norms." As per the local residents, who are in fear of getting contracted with the infection, said the civic administration has failed to control the cases due to which numbers are increasing on a daily basis.

“New police and techniques are seen only on papers but at the ground, everything is zero,” said Parinay Kanthariya, a Lalbaug resident. Amey Ghole, BMC health committee chairman and Corporator, said they are holding meetings almost daily to come out with plans to keep coronavirus at bay.

"We are now planning to set up a 560-bed quarantine facility at the Don Bosco School, Matunga. I have been in regular contact with the ward officer and the decision making that happens ward level to curb the cases,” he said.

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