Pune365 is happy to present the 100th Edition of our popular columnist Vinita Deshmukh’s #VinitasPune!
Candid, incisive and truly Pune.
New normal’ would mean discipline on roads, taking care of social distancing, ensuring wearing of masks and trashing old habits of spitting and litter but looks like it’s not happening. Not as yet, at least!
The other day someone tweeted that, near a pan shop outside a restaurant, people were merrily spitting!
This, when, post the pandemic, spitting is the most serious and dangerous health hazard to those around and should merit stringent punishment, if the person is least bothered about his social responsibility. However,, despite the Pune Municipal Corporation tom-tomming about its anti-spitting campaign way back in 2018, about heavy penalty for this `crime’, looks like it has not reiterated it, this time, with an iron hand!
Another Twitterati, Amit Paranjpye tweeted: `Was thinking Punekars will emerge out of this long lockdown with some improved discipline (queuing, proper distancing, etc.) However, the discipline seems to be headed the wrong way as far driving and parking is concerned! Has gotten a lot worse :(.’’
Atop the tekdis, particularly the Bhamburda Hill, there are many walkers and joggers who are wearing masks, but several youngsters are congregating much too close at the open gym there, thus throwing cautions to the wind.
Now that experts, the municipal commissioner, police commissioner and the district collector have been conducting public awareness through circulars, orders ever since the lockdown in March, taking action and also using the social media to good effect, isn’t it our duty as individuals to abide by the rules? No question about the fact that mask is a MUST in public places, whether you are on your own two feet or on roads!
However, much like the arrogance of not wearing helmets, many are going around without masks and making others vulnerable to infections.
Reuters has reported about a study which stated that widespreadmask wearing could prevent further waves of coronavirus when combined with lockdowns. In fact, our family doctor has strictly advised that if you are getting back your domestic servant then, you have to ensure that she or he wears a mask throughout her stay in your house. How many are following?
The other issue is of ostracisation of COVID-19 patients even after they have recovered. This prompted the Pune Police to release a video early this week, to create public awareness.
Ever since the advent of this pandemic in Pune, there have been several instances of housing society members harassing the covid patients on their return home after discharge from hospital or quarantine and making life miserable for their families too. This had compelled Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram to issue strict orders. He had rightly said at that time that it does not augur well for an intellectual and educated city like Pune that patients are harassed. He had warned the managing committee and members of housing societies that they would face stringent action under Section 188 of IPC and other sections of the Disaster Management Act.’’ However, the attitude towards such patients continues, which propelled to the Pune Police to have another round of public awareness through a video..
Drinking liquor in public places and creating a nuisance has also come back with a vengeance.
The most recent example is that of former corporator Medha Kulkarni who was assaulted by a group of drunkards last weekend. She fractured her fingers when she intervened to stop them from harassing a senior resident.
She said that the menace of groups of youngsters consuming alcohol on public roads and creating social nuisance has become so common in the Kothrud area that some families actually want to leave the neighbourhood. Despite Pune facing pandemic in serious proportions, none of these youngsters were wearing masks and were anyway indulging in anti-social activities that’s condemnable by law.
However, there are certain neighbourhoods that are really following the norms laid out by medical experts and relevant authorities.
The Deccan Gymkhana area is a good example where people (at least 99%) were seen wearing masks and shopkeepers are stringent about maintaining appropriate distance in the customer queues.
Also, in neighbourhoods, where mostly senior citizens reside, there is a lot of discipline.One can understand that the youngsters are fed up of being imprisoned in their homes and they want to have their freedom. To them I say, easing of the lockdown has brought about the first step of freedom but it has to enjoyed with responsibility.
If not, then you never know, you may just lose this little freedom too as there is likely to be another round of a lockdown if cases increase and they would, if we decide to be collectively careless!
#Pune isn’t Covid free! Please follow safety norms!
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals that may be quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,