COVID ..Mumbai’s cursed slum-dwellers turn curse on well-protected Mumbaikars; lockdown of big city for 2 MONTHS

MUMBAI: Mumbai’s migrant poor, neglected in their slums with little water and no drainage facilities, lived a life worse than that of animals for long years. The municipal adiministration, led by pro-Marathi Shiv Sena, turned its back on them. Today, caught in the Covid emergency, these slums are what keep the entire Mumbai on a dangerous edge. The covid cases remain high, and hence the lockdown of the city for well over two months now. If the situation persists, Mumbai is set to lose heavily in terms of economic activities, and it could turn into a dead city sooner than later.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led government of Maharashtra, formed by the Sena after it ditched its long-time ally the BJP, and with support of Congress and NCP, is faced with hard times. Maharashtra keeps presenting the worst picture of Covid spread, compared with all other states. Mumbai keeps adding heavy numbers to the Covid tally every day. The scenario in Pune and Nagpur, the other two major cities, is also worse. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is red-faced.

The Covid infection cases crossed 50,000 in Maharashtra on Sunday, the worst in terms of nationwide tallies, and the principal cities of Mumbai and Pune groaned under the weight of lockdown restrictions lasting more than two months. 

Contributed largely from Maharashtra, India on Sunday reported the highest daily spike in covid infections –at 6,767.

In a way, the long years of neglect of the areas like Dharavi and Govandi, where migrant workforce from other states come and find space for living, was always part of the Shiv Sena’s pro-Marathi push in Mumbai. The Sena that ran the Brahinmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMCC) for long years, as also was part of the state government, cared for localities where local Marathis stayed, and ignored the slums where migrant labour survived. Today, the two slum localities –Dharavi and Govandi –are scripting disaster for Mumbai city as a whole. 

The people in the mega city put through a lockdown for two months, is a shadow of its former self.The situation refuses to show any let-up. Most of the labour force in Mumbai came from UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. There are lesser number of people from the southern states in these slums, as Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru became major growth hubs in recent years, drawing workforce in a massive manner.

To Maharashtra’s deep disappointment, all the three major cities in the state –Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur — are under the deeper grip of Covid health emergency, and governmental efforts are not of much help.

The total deaths in India so far due to Covid spread is put at 3,867 this day. So far, covid infections in India total 1,31,860 against a global tally of over 54 lakh — 54,08, 185 to be precise.

Covid deaths in Maharashtra so far stood at 1635; Mumbai itself accounting for nearly a thousand. Total covid deaths in India is around 4,000. 

Covid deaths in Delhi totaled 231, and Gujarat at 829 deaths and 13,666 infections, and Tamil Nadu at 103. Deaths in Kerala stood at 5 and Karnataka 42, while Telangana deaths were of 49 and of Andhra Pradesh 56. Delhi has so far reported over 13,400 covid infections. The galloping infection number in Maharashtra saw an increase by more than 2,000 infections on a single day this Sunday. 

India recorded 6,700 covid infections on a single day on Sunday. The three international airports in Maharashtra, namely in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur fall under the red zones, where covid cases are of a high order.

Delhi airport will handle 380 domestic flights – 190 departures and an equal number of arrivals –on Monday in a phased improvement effected of late in the aviation sector in India at domestic level. This after a two-month suspension of the flights both domestic and international. Maharashtra, caught in the Covid crisis, has requested Delhi to hold back resumption of flights to Mumbai for some more time. Hence, only 20 flights will be operated to the city, an aviation official said. 

Shramik Specials so far carried over 37 lakh passengers, mostly migrant labour, to their home states in the past two weeks of special runs.
In Kolkata, nearly 200 covid infection cases were reported on Sunday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the Centre to halt the train services to Kolkata from other parts of the country carrying migrant labour returning to their homes, as the state, she said, was “busy” with Amphan cyclone relief works. 

Chennai is showing steady improvements, unlike Maharashtra, and on Sunday allowed industrial estates to resume activities from Monday. –IHN-NN


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