Navi Mumbai: Prior to Ganeshotsav, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has increased the number of random testing at railway stations. There are currently around 500 random antigen tests being conducted at railway stations. Similarly, random tests will be conducted at busy markets, pandals and immersion sites as well.
NMMC’s medical health officer, Pramod Patil, said, ‘A total of 7,000 Rapid Antigen Tests and around 2,000 RT-PCR tests are conducted daily. This year during the festival, we have to fight Malaria, Dengue as well as Covid-19. So along with making sure that the Covid-19 norms are followed, we also need to ensure preventive measures for dengue and malaria. Regular checking of stagnant water and fogging at the pandal areas also needs to be done.’
The corporation also plans to have vaccination drives at the pandals based on vaccine availability. ‘If there is enough supply, we will have vaccination drives at whichever pandals possible. We will also be putting up hoardings and signages regarding Covid-19 at the pandals. We had a joint meeting with the police wherein we have informed them as well about the actions they should take against people not following the Covid-19 norms,’ said Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Kakade.
The Corporation also plans to have an arrangement whereby residents who don’t want to step out for immersion can give the idol to the designated persons visiting their area, and they will immerse it.
156 artificial ponds were added this year, up from 132 last year, to ensure that there is not much crowding at one place. Last year, 132 pandal applications were received, and 120 were granted permission. This year, 90 applications were received, and 84 were granted permission. ‘Every pandal should use only the one fourth of the road and there should be area left for the people to travel. The pandals should not be blocking any footpath or roadway. Such applications which can create blockage to the movement of public, have been rejected and in some cases, people have made double applications thinking that if one is rejected, another might be considered,’ NMMC officials said.
Furthermore, the number of people not wearing masks and not maintaining social distance has increased ahead of the festival. Around 1272 people were fined for not wearing masks in August, and a total of Rs 6.36 lakh was collected; 2075 people were fined for not maintaining social distance, and they were fined to the region of Rs 4.15 lakh in total.