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BMC uses drones to contain COVID-19 outbreak in Mumbai’s Kandivali slums

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been successful in keeping the dreaded coronavirus at bay in suburban Mumbai’s Kandivli slums by Putting a right use to technology.

Till May first week 50 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Laljipada slum area at Kandivli (West). The highly populated slums spread over an area of six kilometres houses nearly 65,000 people who are mainly daily wage workers and labourers. Most of the residents used to stay in different parts of Mumbai, throughout the week where their project have been going on and would only return home during the weekends.

As a result, when the lockdown was imposed many labourers were stuck in different parts of the city and it took them many days to return to their home. The total number of COVID-19 cases also increased due to the number of days increased.

The local ward office recorded 50 cases by the end of April and finding it difficult to enforce lockdown. Those who lived in the slums were told not to come out of the area.

As slums are congested area people would come out of their houses regularly and social distancing was not followed, it was then the R – south ward officials decided to deploy drone surveillance in the areas.

The ward officials flew drones inside the slums. The drones were fitted with high definition cameras used to manoeuvre between the lanes easily providing a clear clarity.

The ones those who are violating the norms the BMC could clearly identify and steps were taken against them. Also speakers were connected with the drones through which the ward officers used to pass messages as well.

Senior BMC official of RS ward said “Initially the people were confused that what we were using with the drones. Few days passed and they got to know that we were doing surveillance on them,”

The ward officials also went down to the slums and showed photographs of lockdown violations in the slums to the residents and gave them a strict warning as well.

It has been more than fifteen days since the last COVID-19 case was reported from the slum and the residents believe it’s due to the effective usage of drones the civic officials was able to control the spread.

There has been certain relaxations in lockdown four, imposed on the area however the ward officials has told the local leaders to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines and often conducts impromptu surveillances.

The official stated “There might not be any cases now; however we conduct the surveillance at times to keep the residents under check. This is a congested area and a single case won’t take much time to spread”

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