In this series, individuals, citizen groups and RWAs explain how they have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis in a constructive manner. In the fourth part of the series, the president of an apartment association describes the measures they took.
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COVID-19 pandemic has tragically brought home the truth of the age-old Sanskrit saying Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning ‘the world is one family’. With this thought in mind, the management committee of Century Saras, an apartment complex in Yelahanka New Town, formed a task force for dealing with the COVID-19 threat immediately after the national lockdown was announced.
The task force took the following actions to ensure the safety and health of about 500 residents in our apartment complex:
- All domestic workers, housekeeping and other daily workers were given paid leave and their entry stopped.
- The entry of all vendors inside the premises was terminated. Deliveries of milk, gas cylinders, groceries, food, etc had to be collected in-person by the residents, at the gate.
- Food and accommodation facilities were arranged within our complex for security personnel and STP/WTP technicians.
- The next step was imposing restrictions on residents. Residents could visit the local market only between 8 am and 11 am to buy essential supplies.
- Residents were advised to not invite guests and to temporarily stop visiting others’ homes. All residents were forced to stay put in their respective homes.
- Common facilities such as swimming pool, gym, indoor games area and clubhouse were locked.
- The responsibility of maintaining essential services was distributed among the management committee members. These services included power supply, swimming pool maintenance, housekeeping, etc.
- Residents were asked to disinfect and mop their respective floors in a display of community spirit.
- Security personnel staying with us were requested to take up maintenance of common areas and disinfect lifts and lobbies in their free time, for which they were paid extra.
- With all this, we achieved voluntary self-quarantine of all residents.
- In addition to this, regular spray and disinfection drive is undertaken within the apartment complex with a strict code of wearing a mask and frequent washing of hands.
The notice sent to the residents can be viewed here.
We also expanded our responsibility towards our extended community who live nearby. The management committee and volunteers stepped out with paint and brush to mark out social distancing lines in front of all shops in the market area.
Our apartment also ensured that migrant workers in our area are supported. Satish Mallya, Secretary of Century Saras Apartment Association and President of North-1 Cluster of BAF (Bangalore Apartments’ Federation), says, “I got a call at around 12 noon on March 31 from a resident that his wife has received an urgent request on Sahai Helpline from a migrant worker. The worker and his wife have a month-old baby, and his younger brother too lives with them. They had run out of food and needed help desperately.”
We had the contact number of the family living in Dwaraka Nagar, near Bagalur in Yelahanka. Satish, along with a fellow resident Hemant Pai, were the first to reach the location. Due to lack of money and food, the baby’s mother had attempted suicide; they had run out of food and LPG two days back. The duo arranged food for the family, but they also found out there were 20-30 families that were probably living in the same condition.
On April 2, we learnt that a government agency had reached out to them. We then decided to distribute grocery kits to 15 migrant workers’ families the next day. Meghana from Godrej Woodsman Estate and Hemant from Century Saras mobilised the required resources from these two apartments. Collectively, 130 relief kits were arranged for migrant families in the area. The funds for the same were collected from residents and individuals.
We, about 500 residents at Century Saras, have followed the government’s and the Prime Minister’s directives in letter and in spirit. As a community, we are now safe and no positive cases of coronavirus have been reported from where we live.