As Mumbai's death toll surges Colaba's Pasta Lanes thronged by people

Updated: 25 October, 2020 07:54 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Though five buildings have been sealed on stretch, complaints are pouring in of unrestricted movement

Five buildings in the lanes have been sealed. Buildings are sealed if more than 10 cases are reported from two or more floors
Five buildings in the lanes have been sealed. Buildings are sealed if more than 10 cases are reported from two or more floors

Ideally, the success of Dharavi, and how the congested slum managed to curb COVID-19 spread by observing restrictions, should have inspired the city. However, that seems to not have been the case. After all, when seeing how populated Mumbai's streets are today, could you guess that currently there are as many as 8,500 sealed building across the city, with around nine lakh citizens, and 620 containment zones with more than 25 lakh residents? While the BMC appealed to Mumbaikars several times, and even filed police complaints against those not remaining restricted to their sealed buildings, we seem to be in no mood to follow rules.

And, Colaba's Pasta Lanes are just a symptom of the city's problem.

A total of five buildings in the lanes have been sealed. But, there seems to be no restriction on the movement of the public, either residents or floating population. "I get many calls every day, that people from the sealed buildings are roaming or giving entry to outsiders. I have taken several meetings with residents, as well as BMC officials, and requested the BMC to take stringent action. But nothing works," says Makrand Narvekar, local corporator.

This is not an exceptional case; the picture is just a representation of the city which has more than 19,000 active cases—mostly from residential buildings—and 8,518 buildings which have been sealed to contain the spread of the virus through the movement of citizens. A Ward has 99 sealed buildings, much less than most other wards in the city. An official from A Ward says, "We received complaints and we conducted virtual meetings [with residents]. We even asked the police to help with implementing these regulations. But, how far can the BMC or police go to restrict the movement of educated, well-mannered residents?"

Chanda Jadhav, assistant commissioner of A Ward says, "I haven't received any particular complaint about the Pasta Lanes. Whenever such complaints come, I immediately ask the officials to co-ordinate with the police and complainant and resolve the issue."

As per the latest guidelines regarding sealed buildings, the BMC has ordered sealing of a building if more than 10 cases are reported from two or more floors and a wing or floor if cases are found in a single home. However, the final decision remains in the hands of the local assistant commissioner. "Having undergone a strict lockdown, people don't want any more restrictions. They want to go outside for work or morning walks or to buy vegetables. The next few months are crucial as the festive season is on, with almost no restriction on movement. We are observing the situation carefully," says a senior official from the BMC.

Number of sealed buildings in Mumbai

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First Published: 25 October, 2020 05:26 IST

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