Coronavirus outbreak: Now, Kandivli slums in COVID-19 crosshairs

Updated: 13 April, 2020 07:06 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Lack of enough toilets proving to be a bane in jam-packed pocket of 25,000 people, as six test positive, forcing officials to seal the area and quarantine several others

A BMC-Mumbai police notice proclaims the sealing of the area
A BMC-Mumbai police notice proclaims the sealing of the area

Six people from two Kandivli slums have contracted COVID-19 in the past couple of days. With a high density of people and few toilets, most residents of Azad Nagar and Ekta Nagar slums, end up using the same public toilets. While the civic body has sealed the slums, sealing of toilets is impossible with no alternative available.

The slums are located on either side of 90 Feet Road, Ganesh Nagar in Kandivli West. Two days ago, two people from Azad Nagar tested positive for Coronavirus. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) then set up clinics and tested 23 close contacts and neighbours living in both slums.

A BMC-Mumbai police notice proclaims the sealing of the area
Civic workers sanitise an area in the affected neighbourhood

Four infected
Reports that came on Sunday showed four of these have contracted the disease. Among the infected are a tea stall owner from the area and a 16-year-old who fled when the BMC came to take them to quarantine. He was later found by the local police.

The area is highly populated and congested with thousands of families living in small rooms of ground-plus-one and two-storey houses. There are many commercial workshops too. Most of the houses do not have toilets and residents rely on public toilets. "There are long queues outside the toilets, especially in the morning.

Health workers take infected residents to a quarantine facility
Health workers take infected residents to a quarantine facility

Those who have tested positive would also use these toilets," said a resident Umar Khan.

'Clinics needed'
Another resident Dr Abdul Salam Khan told mid-day that he had seen the infected patients visiting the toilets. "The government should arrange clinics in the area to check every person in every home. Anyone with symptoms should be immediately quarantined," Dr Khan said.

The public toilet with 50 stalls in Azad Nagar
The public toilet with 50 stalls in Azad Nagar

'Area being sanitised'
"We had set up clinics in the area and taken swabs of 23 neighbours and close contacts. Four people have been quarantined and their history is being checked. We have sealed the area and are monitoring it. BMC staff is present in the area and everything, including public toilets, is being sanitised," said Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Kurhade of the R South ward.

"The population of the area is around 25,000, which also includes a transit camp nearby. One public toilet, which is a ground-plus-one structure and has 50 stalls, is in Azad Nagar. A smaller one with 16 stalls is in Ektanagar," said local corporator Kamlesh Yadav.

Civic workers seen near 90 Feet Road
Civic workers seen near 90 Feet Road

'Toilets can't be sealed'
"Sealing of the toilets is not possible as residents need them. The BMC has sanitised all public toilets the person looking after the toilets is also cleaning them daily," Yadav added.

Total no. of people tested from the two slums

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First Published: 13 April, 2020 07:00 IST

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