Chaotic scenes prevailed in the premises of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) headquarters after several people, mostly women living in Ganesh Dewal Nagar - a sprawling slum cluster in Bhayandar, launched an agitation to register their protest against “forceful” tests being conducted by civic personnel to detect Covid-19 cases in their locality.
Shouting slogans against the MBMC, the agitators suddenly barged into the main administrative building and protested by launching a sit-in agitation on Monday.
After conducting two rounds of the Chase-the-Virus drive, the MBMC has recently started the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ initiative to ensure that no COVID-19 positive or suspected patients are missed out from the radar.
However, the agitators alleged that the MBMC-deputed health workers and volunteers had created a terror in the region by not only pressurising poor slum dwellers including children to undergo COVID-19 tests, but were also forcing them to get admitted into isolation centres sans any valid positive reports.
“Under the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ initiative, our teams are screening every household to detect any suspected patient as soon as possible. Although, the question of forceful testing does not arise, we will verify the charges and act accordingly. Apart from the health department, the local ward office shares the responsibility of survey.” said MBMC’s medical officer Dr. Pramod Padwal.
Armed with thermal guns and pulse oxymeters, the survey teams have been provided with an on-call facility of testing kits wherever need arises, officials said.
“These health workers are randomly picking up the poor slum dwellers. This highly condemnable and step motherly act will not be tolerated,” charged social activist- Ashwini Acharya.
Meanwhile, 158 more people tested positive for the infection on Monday. With the latest addition, the total number of cumulative positive patients has catapulted to 16,701.
The MBMC has attributed the surge in cases to an increased number of tests each day. Laying special emphasis on testing, the health department has conducted 5,220 tests in the past one week.