19 May 2021: RWAs take arms against COVID-19 in Noida, Ghaziabad
As the administration in Uttar Pradesh faces criticism for its handling of COVID-19, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Ghaziabad and Noida have taken it upon themselves to tackle the outbreak.
From setting up isolation centers to ensuring vaccinations for residents, RWAs have made their own arrangements by pooling resources as they felt reportedly felt "abandoned" by their local administration.
Here are more details.
Administration: Ghaziabad District Magistrate did not answer calls
Residential societies were left to fend for themselves with no assistance from the government, Federation of Apartment Owners Associations Ghaziabad founder Alok Kumar told ThePrint.
Kumar said that while some politicians engaged with them on Twitter, aid never arrived, adding that the Ghaziabad District Magistrate was not answering calls.
People were struggling to get tested or find medicines, oxygen tanks, and hospital beds.
Community effort: SOS calls went unheard; RWAs swung into action
At Indirapuram's Amrapali Village, RWA president Deepak Kumar had sent out an SOS to the district administration over the rising COVID-19 cases in the society. However, they have not received a response yet.
The RWA spent Rs. 1.5 lakh to procure nine oxygen cylinders of varying sizes, he said, adding that volunteers travel to Aligarh to get them refilled.
Fact: Society associations also establish own isolation centers
Niho Scottish Gardens, Nirala Eden Park, Amrapali Village, Cloud 9, ATS among other society associations in Ghaziabad have established their own isolation centers, ThePrint reported. These facilities have oxygen concentrators or cylinders for those in need.
Oxygen: Gautam Buddh Nagar DM helping residents acquire oxygen
In Greater Noida West, New ERA Flat Owners Welfare Association Vice President Manish Kumar said they have been getting oxygen cylinders refilled from Haridwar since UP is not allowing oxygen to be sold to individuals.
Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj has been helping them, he said. Now, residents can have cylinders refilled in Ghaziabad itself.
Oxygen: 15 societies have set up isolation centers
Manish Kumar said roughly 15 societies have set up isolation centers and up to 50 have arranged for oxygen cylinders.
At Mahagun Moderne, the RWA procured a Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen plant.
Mahagun Moderne Secretary Mridul Bhatia told ThePrint they had applied for clearance from the UP Pollution Control Board, but the local administration said no permission is necessary to open L-1 centers.
Lockdown: Some societies self-imposed lockdowns to control spread
Amrapali Village and Mahagun Moderne had also imposed their own lockdown measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Bhatia said they took a vote on the lockdown on WhatsApp groups.
"Most residents agreed on a self-imposed lockdown before the government could announce it," he told ThePrint.
Entry was only limited to residents, while movement within the society was also restricted.
Vaccination: RWAs get residents, others vaccinated
RWAs have also stepped in to help residents get vaccinated as well.
"We tried to ensure the community, especially senior citizens, got vaccinated on time," BT Srinivasan—general secretary, Federation of RWA of Greater Hyderabad—told ThePrint.
Srinivasan said they helped security guards, house help, and other staff get vaccinated.
The Mahadevpura All Apartments Association also organized vaccination drives for people living in slums.
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