Coronavirus in Mumbai: Housing societies reluctant to ease restrictions so soon
BL Soni

The doubling rate of COVID-19 cases has improved and crossed the 100-day mark in seven wards of the Mumbai city but the housing societies and residential complexes are still reluctant to ease the lockdown measures in their societies.

Office-bearers of the societies feel that the danger hasn't yet passed and the risk of society members catching the virus is still high.

"During the first phase of unlocking we had relaxed the norms in the housing societies, following that, the number of cases only surged. So we don't want to relax the norms immediately," said Nitin Gupta, secretary of a housing society in Andheri East.

Doubling rate
The H-East ward (Bandra, Santacruz, Khar) has the highest doubling rate of 158 days followed by K-East ward (Andheri East) with a doubling rate of around 120 days, L ward (Sakinaka, Chandivli, Kurla) has a doubling rate of 118 days, S ward (Bhandup, Powai) - 108 days, K-West ward (Andheri West) also 108 days, F-N ward (Matunga, Sion, Wadala) has 104 days while the newly added ME (Govandi, Mankhurd, Deonar) ward has the doubling rate of 100 days.

Since the unlocking began, the spread which was mostly limited to slum areas had spiraled to high-rises. The shift in the nature of the spread led to a spike in cases in the high-rises. Within three months, more than 7,000 buildings across Mumbai had been sealed.

"If the relaxations are given again, people will start being casual again. The city has reached this stage after a lot of hard work and patience. We have asked our society member to stay patient for some more days following which we will relax the rules in a phased manner" stated Kapil Patel, secretary of Blue Orchid, society Sion.

"If the relaxations are given, people will again allow outsiders and maids inside the societies. A small casual step may lead to an increase in the numbers. We can't afford to be casual now," added Patel.

The office-bearers of the housing societies also told that people have been complaining of the restrictions but they are compelled to adhere by the harsh steps, because if there is a spread, the office-bearers will be held accountable.

"The civic body has given full responsibility to the office bearers of the housing societies. People are complaining about the restrictions but at the same time they need to understand that if there is a spread again, then we are the ones who will have to be answerable" stated Manoj Deshmukh member of an Advanced Locality Management (ALM) group in Sion.

"The office bearers can start the phase-wise opening of the buildings. The cases have gone low and the city has also started unlocking. We have to move on and need to start leading our lives in a normal way now" stated a Khar resident.

Ramesh Prabhu, president of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA) told that each day he is getting five complaints from residents complaining about restrictions in their societies.

"The office bearers need to understand. Now that the city has started to reopen, there's no chance in adhering to strict lockdown, as they need to start unlocking in a phase-wise manner now" stated Prabhu.

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