Friends on the Frontline
Forbes India|January 15, 2021
Cops and municipal workers ensured humanitarian help and essential supplies were readily available during the lockdown
Monica Bathija

In late September, police sub-inspector Nisha Chavan was taking down the statement of a domestic violence victim. The woman was hurt and couldn’t wear a mask, and for Chavan, the priority was to get her to a hospital as soon as possible. The victim tested positive for the coronavirus and a few days later, on October 3, so did Chavan.

She isolated herself, got admitted to a hospital for a week, recuperated at her house in Vashi, and finally after 18 days, went home to her parents, in a village near Pune.

“I didn’t tell my mother because she would unnecessarily worry,” says the 27-year-old who has been on the frontline since March, first working long hours through the early months of the lockdown, helping send migrant workers home, and then once things opened up, policing and ensuring people stuck to curfew and lockdown guidelines.

On The Job

To keep essential services going, municipal workers were on the field in departments like public health, sanitation, waste management, frontline engineers, drivers, BEST, cemetery staff and maintenance. Police personnel helped municipal workers with contact tracing, going from house to house explaining isolation norms

From about 1.5 lakh municipal employees in Mumbai, as of December, 5,505 had tested positive and 185 had died due to Covid-19

Of a total strength of about 50,000 in the Mumbai police, as of December, 7,131 had tested positive and the force had seen 98 deaths due to Covid-19

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