Representative Image
Representative Image

After observing the initial phase of the lockdown that lasted for 21 days, a group of activists have come up with a slew of recommendations for the city civic body to fight the coronavirus more effectively and by providing better amenities to the public.

One of the most important recommendations put forth is that the civic body must make Covid19 testing free of cost at both public and private hospitals.

"The government's role is not simply to declare a lockdown and enforce it. Rather, it is to set up mechanisms and services such that people do not have to move out of their homes out of fear, want or desperation. Its response needs to encourage physical distancing, not to coerce it," the report states.

NGOs such as Collective for Spatial Alternatives, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan Homeless Collective Human Rights Law Network, Paani Haq Samiti etc are the ones who have studied the situations and surveyed thousands of Mumbaikars, before preparing the report. "Covid-19 testing must be made free of cost at both public and private labs. Testing is the most important measure in being able to combat the pandemic, and any barriers to proactive testing must be removed," the activists unanimously recommended.

Further the report highlights the issues of the migrant workers / laborers who are stuck at various points in the city and are unable to go back to their native places.

"Migrant workers who are keen to return to their villages must be allowed to leave in safe and dignified manner. The govt must make all the arrangements, after testing people for Covid-19 infection, and provide a free and safe passage for the uninfected," it suggests.

Notably, most of these NGOs have been helping the poor and the needy throughout the lockdown period. They have been providing cooked food as well as food grains to the needy.

The activists have advocated universalisation of public distribution system (PDS). "The PDS must be universalized, and rations for atleast 3 months should be made available for free for the needy till the economic shock of the lockdown subsides. Also, the civic body must urgently open up many more cooked food distribution centres, and spread them out based on population density," the recommendations state.

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