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App for milk, vendors at the gate — how Delhi-NCR’s hotspots managed on Day 1 of ‘sealing’




A sealed area in Pasonda village, Ghaziabad | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A sealed area in Pasonda village, Ghaziabad | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

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Delhi/Noida/Ghaziabad: As one enters Chauda Village in Sector 22, Noida — which is among the several Covid-19 hotspots that have been sealed by the Uttar Pradesh government — not a single person can be seen even in the by-lanes.

Police personnel stand guard to ensure no one enters or exits the area. The car of the station house officer (SHO), along with police barricades, are being sanitised and streets fumigated as people look out from their balconies to witness the sealing process.

A resident of the area, Akhilesh, steps out of his house to ask the police how to reach the doctor. A few days ago, his nine-year-old son had cut his lip and got stitches, now they need to go for a follow-up appointment.

“The appointment is for 2 pm today (Thursday), and I came out to ask how to reach there today,” says Akhilesh, who goes by only one name.

A water tanker sanitising the SHO’s vehicle in Sector 22, Noida
A water tanker sanitising police barricades in Sector 22, Noida | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Akhilesh says the police told him they had no instructions on how he could go to the doctor and only the SHO could tell him about it

The Delhi government has also declared 22 locations in the capital as ‘containment zones’ and sealed them on 8 April.

A policeman, Lokesh (who goes by only one name), stationed at Malviya Nagar’s Gandhi Park, one of the sealed areas, says: “Nobody can enter or exit these areas. We are working in shifts of four to ensure someone is here 24×7.”

At another Covid-19 hotspot, in south Delhi’s Sangma Vihar — where lanes were bustling with people defying all calls for social distancing, barring the one lane that was sealed — Sub-Inspector Shiv Singh explains the difference between a lockdown and sealing-off an area.

“During a lockdown, people themselves could step out to buy groceries, medicines and other such services. But in areas that have been sealed, only the administration can provide them with their daily necessities,” he tells ThePrint. 

On providing essential services to the residents who can no longer step out, he says: “A list of contacts has been shared with them through which such services will be provided to them at their homes. We will ensure that it is followed through properly.”

While sealing of certain areas may be the need of the hour, ensuring essential services are provided to residents is of utmost importance.  

Also read: This 56-year-old IAS officer is the brain behind Bhilwara model of fighting Covid-19

Groceries and rations 

In Grand Ajnara Heritage, a housing society near Sector 78 in Noida, which is among the Covid-19 hotposts, vendors come right outside the building complex to sell vegetables to the residents.

One of the residents, Sonia Handa, tells ThePrint, “The vendors have been coming for the past 10 days to sell vegetables to us here. They provide great quality vegetables at very nominal rates. It is also extremely convenient for us, especially since the area has been sealed.”

Vendors selling vegetable outside Grand Ajnara Heritage housing society in Noida
Vendors selling vegetables outside Grand Ajnara Heritage housing society in Noida | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Similarly, in other housing societies of Noida such as Varun Vihar Enclave in Sector 28 and Palm Avenue in Sector 44, essential supplies such as groceries, milk, bread and medicines are being delivered to the gates from where the residents come to pick up their items. 

Brajesh Malik, who is part of the management committee of the Residents’ Welfare Association of Varun Vihar Enclave, says the RWA has tied up with an app called ‘Milk Delight’ to provide milk to the residents of the sealed areas. The delivery will start from Friday.

Similar tie-ups are underway to ensure delivery of medicines and groceries, says Malik, adding, “there was absolutely no panic buying here.”

In Sangam Vihar, Shubham Bansal, who runs a small grocery store adjacent to a sealed lane, has been briefed by the police Wednesday evening.

“Grocery store owners like us have each been allotted areas by the police to go and deliver food at the barricades. They took our number yesterday (Wednesday) and distributed it to the people in Gali 6 (which has been sealed) and told them that we will deliver food,” says Bansal.

“We went to deliver food just this (Thursday) morning,” he adds.

Also read: Here’s what Indians are watching during Covid-19 lockdown. Spoiler: It’s not Friends reruns

Hike in food prices

However, not everything is running quite as smoothly.

Vegetable and fruit suppliers in Malviya Nagar’s Gandhi Park have been facing issues.

Sageer (who didn’t tell his surname) and Aash Mohammed, who are both vegetable and fruit suppliers, say they were not even told that the area has been sealed.

“Before this step was taken, we would come here daily to provide fruits and vegetables to the vendors. But now we don’t know what to do,” says Sageer.

In Sadar Bazaar, in central Delhi, that has also been sealed, residents Manju Devi and Meena Devi were on their way back home after shopping for groceries in the afternoon, when they encountered police barricades. Police were not allowing them in.

There was no barricade or policemen in the morning, says Manju Devi. “There are vegetable vendors within the barricaded area, but they have hiked up the price of everything. We can’t afford it. Even if we save 1 rupee, we will go out.” 

Medical supplies  

Housing societies in Noida may have already made arrangements to provide essential services to its residents, but it is a different story in Pasonda village in Ghaziabad. 

Jaan-e-Alam, who runs a medicine store in the village, tells ThePrint that since the area was sealed Wednesday night his store has been shut down. His concern is not about his business, but more about how people, especially patients of diabetes and blood pressure, will avail of their medicines. 

“During the lockdown, people could come and take their medicines. Many people who could avail them earlier, cannot now. They are helpless.”

Alam adds that the government needs to either find a way to deliver medicines and food to people’s houses or allow everybody an hour during the day when they can buy what they need. 

However, RSS’ Pasonda head Deepak Sharma says provisions were being made by BJP MP V.K. Singh, who asked him to write down the name, number and address of people in the locality to provide them with rations, groceries and other essential services. “These rations will either be provided free of cost or be at subsidised rates.” 

Sharma says RSS teams were delivering medicines to people’s houses.

A deserted street in Pasonda village, Ghaziabad
A deserted street in Pasonda village, Ghaziabad | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Helpline for essential deliveries

An auto driver, who dropped off a pregnant woman at Max Hospital in Malviya Nagar, tells the ThePrint, “If food and groceries are not readily available, we are more likely to die of hunger than coronavirus.”

To provide delivery of essential services to people, the UP government has provided a toll-free helpline number where people can call to ask for delivery of groceries, rations and medicines.

However, there are many people who are unaware of the helpline or the services they can avail.

As of Thursday, there are 5,218 active Covid-19 cases and 169 deaths in the country.

Also read: ‘Super spreader’ infects nearly 100 people in Jaipur, Rajasthan gets second Covid-19 hotspot 


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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