Coronavirus Outbreak: With non-essential services shut, BMC struggling to find tools

Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 10:03 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

The civic body struggles to create additional beds at hospitals

BMC is facing issues in creating beds for hospitals and repairing water pipeline in the absence of hardware and furniture supplies
BMC is facing issues in creating beds for hospitals and repairing water pipeline in the absence of hardware and furniture supplies

The BMC's directive that has restricted operation of non-essential services is now proving to be a problem. Non essential services include hardware and furniture stores. With these shops being shut down, the civic body is facing issues in making arrangement of tools to keep essential services on the track. These non-essential services are needed to build additional beds in hospitals for suspected patients. As the 21-day lockdown is new to the nation and citizens, the government is
struggling to cope with it.

Emergency services have to take a hit due to this. The BMC plans to create more beds at Cooper Hospital, HBT Trauma Centre, Bandra and Kurla's Bhabha Hospitals, Rajawadi Hospital, etc. This assignment needs to be completed by March 30. "As most migrant workers have returned to their villages, we are facing a shortage of manpower. Additionally, there is a dearth of equipment to create these beds. Owners of shops and godowns are not willing to help. Transport of material and our staff
has also become challenging," said engineers assigned to this job.

One of the engineers told this correspondent that they didn't have sufficient masks and hand sanitisers for labourers at these hospitals. "E-ward engineers are working continously under pressure as they build beds at Kasturba Hospital. Most of our staff travels from Ambernath, Kalyan, Virar and Badlapur," said Sainath Rajadhyksha of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Engineers Association.

Even single-repair services are hit due to the lockdown. On Saturday, a 1,200 mm diameter water pipeline in Bandra needed urgent repair work. The pipeline supplies water from Santacruz to Bandra. "After much difficulty, the engineers found a retailer at Marol who opened his shop for the work," said a BMC engineer.

Tata pledges support

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata released a statement outlining the Tata Trusts' strategy to offer support and financial aid in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis. The 82-year old chairman observed the current situation was one of grave concern and needed immediate action. He announced a R500 crore relief package to protect and empower all the affected communities. The money from the corpus will be used to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel on the frontlines, respiratory
systems for treating increasing cases, testing kits to increase per capita testing, and to set up modular treatment facilities for infected patients.

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