Coronavirus outbreak: Meet the man who sanitises the vehicles of our frontline warriors

Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 07:25 IST | Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

Vijay Kumar Babanna Rajappa, a mechanic, sanitises vehicles of the police and BMC for free, to ensure those in the forefront of the COVID-19 battle stay safe

Vijay Kumar Babanna Rajappa uses a WHO and FDA-approved sanitiser
Vijay Kumar Babanna Rajappa uses a WHO and FDA-approved sanitiser

Every day for over 10 days, a 39-year-old mechanic has been driving down to Mumbai from his house in Virar, to sanitise the vehicles of the police and the BMC. Vijay Kumar Babanna Rajappa runs a small garage opposite the Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi. It has been closed since the lockdown, but Rajappa, who wanted to do something for our frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19, has been helping them free of cost. So far he has sanitised over 150 vehicles.

Rajappa has sanitised all the vehicles of police stations at Shivaji Park, Mahim, Dadar, Virar and Arnala. He was given a letter of appreciation from many police stations for this. "We gave a letter of appreciation to Rajappa for helping the police department by sanitising our vehicles including mobile vans, cars, beat Marshal's bikes etc. It protects us from this virus while traveling from one place to another place," said Sunayana Nate, inspector of Dadar police station.

Virar corporator Maya Chaudhary said, "We took Rajappa's help to sanitise municipal emergency service vehicles, buses, police vehicles and auto rickshaws in Vasai-Virar. Rajappa is doing great work without charging for it. We have also asked him to sanitise vehicles used by doctors, nurses and ward officers."

'Keeping our police safe'
"Every day the police deal with many people including accused and have to take them to police stations or courts. Currently these may include COVID-19 positive people. The accused touch many areas inside the vehicle. So I decided to clean their vehicles and keep all our police personnel safe from the danger. I also clean the bikes of beat Marshals. If their vehicles are safe, they are safe," said Rajappa.

Rajappa even explained the process of cleaning the vehicles. At first he washes a vehicle with water from both inside and out. "Then I wash it with diesel and dry the entire vehicle. Then I use a litre of water mixed with sanitiser and apply it to the vehicle. It takes me an hour to completely clean a car. I use a sanitiser which is WHO and FDA-approved. It is only used on the metallic body of cars and bikes."

'Sanitisation helps'
He added, "If a person who is infected by COVID-19 travels in the car, there are chances it can spread to others who use the vehicle. The air-conditioning can also increase chances of spreading this virus, but if we sanitise the vehicle, there are no chances of the virus spreading." He claimed after a vehicle is sanitised, it is safe for about 15 days. He now wants to approach hospitals to sanitise ambulances.

Rajappa has been working as a mechanic since 1999. The usual charges for deep washing of vehicles are around R300-R500 each, but he has not been charging for the same.

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