Lockdown tightened in Mumbai’s ‘carefree’ Dharavi

Mumbai: The police and health authorities have tightened the lockdown in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum amid growing fears of coronavirus spreading here, officials said on Thursday.

At least 10 localities in the 2.25 sq. kms area have been red-flagged and all movement of people stopped, all shops and establishments, fruit/vegetable markets or vendors, hawkers, etc, have been shut down, barring pharmacies.

To minimise peoples’ unrest in the area, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), plans to come up with a scheme for doorstep delivery of essentials shortly.

Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, who represents Dharavi constituency, along with Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited hospitals and quarantine centres in her constituency on Wednesday for a spot assessment of the situation.

“We have requested state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to direct the police to strictly enforce lockdown in this area to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We have also requested the government to provide more ventilators for the hospitals here, speed up test reports for those in quarantine as more and more people keep coming here daily,” Gaikwad told mediapersons after the cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Dharavi — the most congested place on the planet — has over 200,000 families living and working here, besides more than 20,000 big and small businesses generating revenues of an estimated Rs 7,000 crore annually.

Considered a ticking time-bomb in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dharavi has recorded two deaths and at least another 13 positive patients till date, sparking alarm among the civic and state health authorities struggling to contain the further spread of the coronavirus in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.

Despite the obvious risks, most people in Dharavi seem oblivious of the invisible dangers around them and continue to move around in a carefree manner, with all social distancing norms thrown to the winds.

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