229 Pune Villages Corona-free vs Rs 25k Bond for Home Quarantine: Story of 1 City and its 2 Strategies

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Nearly 229 villages in the country’s most-affected Pune district have not reported a single positive case of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. According to Pune Zilla Parishad chief executive officer (CEO) Ayush Prasad, the secret to a clean record in these villages has been a Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and quarantine of those travelling to the city.

“These villages do have people who travel to the city or town area for trade and work purposes. However, the containment measures are so successful in these villages that they have bene able to keep the virus at bay for over a year now. The Covid-appropriate behaviour has been considered as asocial practice and so even though there are no cases, people are penalised for not wearing masks and anyone travelling to the city for any work is quarantined upon their return,” Prasad said.

“In some of these villages while there have been cases in nearby villages, they have remained untouched. We also have 200-odd villages who have reported single digit Covid19 cases. These positives are also of those who were migrants and there was no local transmission in these 200 villages,” he added.

Of the 1,405 villages under the Pune district, these 229 villages account for a population of 6-7 lakh of the 52 lakh rural Pune population, said a report by Hindustan Times. The 229 villages with no cases are from talukas connected to the city including Haveli, Ambegaon, Bhor, Khed, Mulshi, Maval, Purandar, Shirur, Junnar and Velha among others.

The villages have successfully conducted drives to detect SARI and ILI patients and also have penalised people for not wearing masks.

Pune district continues to remain the most-affected district in the country, with maximum active Covid-19 cases and daily Covid-19 fresh cases.

Besides, Covid-19 patients in Pune who opt for home quarantine may soon have to sign a bond stating that they will all norms for home isolation, else be eligible for Rs 25,000 fine, said the city’s civic body.

“If a patient leaves home and breaks the isolation rules, he/she will have to pay Rs 25,000. The patients will be monitored using different methods,” additional municipal commissioner Rubal Agarwal said on Wednesday. An order giving details about the bond would be issued in a couple of days, said the official.

PMC staffers would pay surprise visits to the homes of the Covid-19 patients and when found violating the norms, the defaulters will have to pay Rs 25,000, she added.

Legal experts and activists, however, condemned the move, saying it will do more harm than good. Calling the move “irrational”, an expert said that it was unfortunate that the PMC was using Covid-19 crisis to mint money. Another legal expert said that such a move is an infringement on people’s rights and would set a wrong precedent.

Over 35,000 people are under home insolation in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits.

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