KOLKATA: As the city battles Covid-19, there is some comfort news from Belgacchia and Narkeldanga north slums. According to state health department and local councillors – the two hitherto “hotbeds” have not reported too many fresh cases in the past 17 days. The containment, claimed KMC officials and senior cops at Lalbazar, is a result of mutiple efforts on the ground. “But, we need to keep what we are doing for at least the next 11 days to come to the green zone. It will be not be easy. With several bylanes outside the main containment zones now becoming hotspots, we need to ensure that there is no intermixing and that lockdown is strictly adhered. The challenge is far from over,” reminded an IPS officer who has marshalled his troop in the area.
The police and KMC listed a few points that helped them in this effort. “The overall lockdown implemented at Belgachhia became a model that was to be followed elsewhere. We blocked all possible entries to this slum. In the initial days when violations got reported, we decided to penetrate all the bylanes. Marches took place twice daily and even senior IPS officers led from the front. Led by additional CP Damayanti Sen and additional CP DP Singh, we broke the area in to zones and mounted watch. We also took help of the local peace committee, comprising people from all faiths. They went from house to house, spoke to youngsters to not venture out. They even listed the daily requirements which we provided them. Over 2000kg of ration was sanctioned,” said DC (ESD) Ajoy Prasad. Sources said at least a dozen of those admitted at hospitals with Covid from here has returned home and is ptresently in home quarantine.
Police and KMC officers though said that several roads in the Belgacchhia-Tala zone continue to be in containment zone. Similarly, Kasai Moholla, Narkeldanga South Roads are still reporting stray cases every three to four days. “The danger lies in the fact that these neighnourhoods are literally next to each other. We need to regulate shop timings and markets to ensure these blocks do not see a rerun of the deadly disease,” said a senior police officer from Lalbazar.