Meet the Heroic BMC Officer at the Forefront of the Fight Against Covid-19 in Dharavi


Meet the Heroic BMC Officer at the Forefront of the Fight Against Covid-19 in Dharavi

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The coronavirus outbreak in India has brought with it some tough times. But it has also given rise to everyday heroes, ordinary people who are taking huge steps to fight the pandemic and protect the community by just doing their jobs right. One such everyday hero is BMC assistant commissioner Kiran Dighavkar, who has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 in Mumbai, where 406 cases have been reported so far.

Dighavkar, who serves in Mumbai’s G Ward, and his team have taken a hands-on approach to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the city’s crowded areas. In Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum located in the heart of Mumbai, there were fears that the novel coronavirus could spread rapidly and create danger of community transmission, due to cramped living conditions, lack of amenities, and high density of residents.

The fear of Dharavi becoming a coronavirus hotspot was sparked off when three positive cases were reported within 48 hours from the locality. The first case was that of a 56-year-old man who lived in Dharavi’s Baliga Nagar, followed quickly by the cases of a 30-year-old woman (also from Baliga Nagar) and a 48-year-old man, who lived in nearby Mukund Nagar.

Dighavkar knew he had to act fast. With the help of mobile providers, he and his team from the BMC started working proactively at tracing the contacts of the three positive cases from Dharavi. Those at high risk were then isolated immediately.

According to a report by Bloomberg, local authorities have quarantined 3,000 Dharavi residents.

Dighavkar and his team were quick to convert a sports club in the vicinity to a 300-bed quarantine facility, set up a health camp at Baliga Nagar, distribute essential supplies among slum dwellers, and acquire a private hospital with 51 beds exclusively for asymptomatic cases. Six teams of doctors and health workers are in charge of Dharavi alone.

Through the lockdown, Dighavkar has been taking actions to fight coronavirus, but that isn’t all he does. In addition to sharing pertinent information about the outbreak on his Twitter, he also shares a few thoughts and musings that make for worthwhile reading as the entire city sits in lockdown.

Dighavkar is among Mumbai’s MVPs when it comes to tackling the pandemic, and the citizens know it, as is evidenced by the many mentions he receives.

Residents of Dharavi, who have the opportunity to see Dighavkar’s work first-hand, thanked him.

Actor Dia Mirza also gave Dighavkar a shout-out when praising Mumbai’s authorities for the way they have handled the coronavirus outbreak.

Even lawyer and environmental activist Afroz Shah, who is something of an everyday Mumbai hero himself for his efforts in cleaning up Versova Beach, took to Twitter to thank Dighavkar for his efforts.

At a time when world leaders are struggling to contain the pandemic and everything seems to be going wrong, Dighavkar is doing some things right. And for that we need to give him a bow.