Coronavirus outbreak: Police urge do-gooders to not venture out, help through PM/CM's fund

Updated: Apr 07, 2020, 07:54 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Navi Mumbai police urge do-gooders to stay home, inform them if anyone needs help; Panvel civic chief warns local representatives not to visit wards with aid

Members of an NGO feed the needy along the Eastern Express Highway. File pic/Sameer Markande
Members of an NGO feed the needy along the Eastern Express Highway. File pic/Sameer Markande

The helpful nature of locals with regard to the poor and needy during the lockdown, has led the Navi Mumbai police to ask them to not venture out for the same. The police have instead, asked people to contact them if they come across someone who needs help. The Panvel Municipal Corporation too, is harassed by local representatives who gather with their supporters for photo ops during sanitisation work. The commissioner has threatened to lodge complaints against them if this doesn't stop.

'We appreciate this, but...'
Many non-governmental organisations (NGO), and good Samaritans have come forward to provide grocery, ready meals and necessary items to the needy. "We appreciate that citizens are coming forward to help fellow citizens and needy persons. Many NGO members are also out in large numbers, roaming around to help. We don't doubt their intentions but this is resulting in exposure of citizens to each other" said a senior police officer. "This has to stop, citizens are allowed to come out to buy things for themselves, authorities are able to reach out to needy persons," the officer added.

"I just saw one gentlemen in car with his 4-year-son stopping and distributing biscuit packets to beggar below CBD bridge, the man was wearing mask, son inside vehicle without mask , what sort of magnanimity we are showing by exposing your own son. stay back home," (sic) tweeted the Navi Mumbai police on Monday morning.

According to the police officials, there are several other videos on social media in which people are seen feeding stray animals, homeless people and daily wage workers. Many of these people don't wear enough protective gear while venturing out. There is no social distancing maintained at the time of offering food. "We don't have any issue with the social cause but there is a threat involved of spreading the virus by coming in contact with other people, that needs to be addressed urgently," said a senior police officer.

The Navi Mumbai Police have urged citizens donate either to the Prime Minister's or Chief Minister's Fund without exposing themselves or their family members. "Government authorities have better reach and infrastructure. If citizens come across any information about needy persons they must contact DCP (Headquarters)," an official said.

Panvel civic chief warns
Panvel's civic chief Ganesh Deshmukh has warned local representatives, social workers, NGOs to stay away from distribution of food items and groceries.

"Many local representatives go to their wards while sanitization or other work is going on, with their supporters. This is unacceptable and dangerous to the supporters and representative as well. If this continues we will lodge complaints against such persons under the Indian Penal Code and Epidemic Act 1897," said Deshmukh.

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