Last week, chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet decided to assign a minister and a senior IAS officer to each of the eight zones in Bengaluru, for better management of Covid-related work as the BBMP was finding it difficult to tackle the situation with a surge in cases in the past three weeks. While the ministers are supposed to coordinate with different agencies and local elected representatives, IAS officers will monitor the daily progress in the situation.
Some of the ministers and officers who have already held meetings to understand the issues in their zones, said they were taking a decentralised approach that best suited their zone, based on the Covid trend in the area.
Primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar, who is in charge of Bommanahalli, said his zone had a peculiar problem. “Bommanhalli shares its border with Tamil Nadu, hence challenges are multiple. We are working out a strategy to keep a tab on people who enter and exit the border,” he told ET.
Kumar said his priority also included speeding up testing. “At present, it takes 3-4 days to get the swab-sample report. By then, the person may have spread the infection to many,” he said.
Deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who is in charge of Bengaluru West that has the highest number of Covid cases, finds “communication gap” as a major challenge in streamlining the system. “Although there are centralised call centres in Bengaluru for people to dial and seek help, I have realised that a grievance cell in the zone will be more effective. Many people have complained that their grievances are often not addressed. We need to fix this communication gap,” he said.
Other priorities, he said, included better management of treatment facilities and bed allotment.
Officials who are given charge of the zones are also attempting to streamline the system and are hoping that it would be in place by the time the one-week lockdown is lifted. “In a week’s time we will have a large number of people including those from booth-level committees, volunteers, sector officers, revenue officers who will do a range of work such as identifying ILI (influenza-like illness) and SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) cases, pushing them to test, contact tracing and enforcing quarantine. We are putting in place a well-organised system,” said Munish Moudgil, the officer-in-charge of Bengaluru South.
R Vishal, who is in charge of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, said he along with the minister-in-charge had identified managing micro-containment zones, enforcing strict home quarantine and establishing good ICU facilities as the immediate priority. “People in containment zones have raised many issues like the supply of essentials, food and waste disposal. We will fix those issues,” he said.