Set up citizens committees to combat Covid, says Thackeray

Stressing the need to involve the common people, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday called for setting up local ‘Corona Vigilance Committees’ to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The growing incidence of coronavirus in Thane district is worrying. The Municipal Commissioners must involve the citizens of their respective cities and towns, along with local NGOs. It will then be easier to control this scourge,” Thackeray said.

Making the first of its kind suggestion, he pointed out how such mass participation had helped during the Independence movement, and recently the public boycott of Chinese goods had sent a big message across.

“Likewise, the battle with corona is not just about the government. Set up Corona Vigilance Committees in every city, town, villages and hamlets, get the local people, youth and NGOs to join. Check the health of high-risk persons like senior citizens, their chronic ailments, their oxygen levels, hygiene, whether they wear masks and take other precautions,” said Thackeray.

He referred to the malaria and dengue spread in 2010 when the slum-dwellers and people of Mumbai joined in a big way in spraying of public areas to control the diseases and called for a similar ‘mission mode’ to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thackeray’s suggestion came during a video-conference with the Municipal Commissioners of Thane district’s civic bodies like Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Ulhasnagar and Mira-Bhayander, when he sought to impress that the battle with corona cannot be fought alone and must involve citizens and NGOs.

Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar and the CM’s Principal Advisor Ajoy Mehta directed all the Municipal Commissioners to crack the whip and take stringent steps to prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the district, while Konkan Divisional Commissioner Lokesh Chandra made certain suggestions for the region.

Thackeray pointed out that with almost four months experience in tackling corona, everybody has acquired enough knowledge on the dos and don’ts, and instructions from the government are also self-explanatory.

“I am certain that you will get success if all the officials are more careful and take appropriate action. Some officials were replaced not because they were inefficient, but now Covid has spread so much that we needed to take tough steps to prevent its further multiplication,” he added.

Citing the example of Mumbai, he asked the authorities to build jumbo facilities for Corona patients along with ICU and oxygen beds, and seek help from industrial houses, private companies and other organisations in this endeavour.

Thackeray said that given the possibility of the number of patients increasing over the coming days, it was urgent and imperative to set up jumbo Covid-care facilities outside Mumbai.

“The jumbo facilities in Mumbai are not merely tents, but they have full-fledged treatment facilities, beds, ICU beds, oxygen beds, drinking water, drainage, toilets, etc. The civic bodies must also make arrangements to stock up adequate medicines required for the future,” he said.

The Konkan division comprises Mumbai district, Mumbai Suburban district, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, with a total of eight Municipal Corporations, 17 Municipal Councils and 23 City Councils under its jurisdiction.

Within the division falls the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, including the Thane district which has notched up 67,722 cases and 1,695 deaths till date, besides Mumbai’s 5,064 fatalities and 87,856 cases.