Acting on the advice of Indian Medical Association (IMA), the state government on Sunday pressed firefighting vehicles into service for sanitising public places to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During a meeting with the IMA on April 8, which was chaired by chief minister Hemant Soren, the doctors had recommended the use of fire tenders in sanitisation work.
On Sunday, Harmu locality under Ward 26 of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) was disinfected with the help of a fire tender.
“According to the fire department’s order, one firefighting vehicle from each fire station will be spared for this work. RMC will coordinate the sanitisation drive. Our trained staff will be part of this operation. We have handed over four vehicles to the civic body for the purpose,” state fire officer Bandhan Oraon said.
The fire department is part of Jharkhand police.
RMC kick-started the drive from Harmu, which is situated close to Hindpiri that has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot.
RMC workers sanitise a temple at Albert Ekka Chowk on Sunday
However, the RMC staff and firefighters engaged in the drive were found posing for group photo in violation of the social-distancing norms. They were asked to send pictures with geo-tagging to ensure that they have carried out the sanitisation drive in the locality.
When the issue was raised with RMC health officer Kiran Kumari, she said: “They were asked to wear protective gear, maintain social distance and not to send any group picture.”
She said from Monday, the firefighting vehicles will cover all the 53 wards of RMC.
The civic body has decided to carry out massive sanitisation drives at Hindpiri besides Joda Talab locality under Ward 9 of Bariatu after an elderly retired bureaucrat, a resident of the area, tested positive for coronavirus and died during treatment in Delhi on Saturday night.
“We are using sodium hypochlorite to sanitise localities. With firefighting vehicles, it is very easy to cover a large area. We are also using hand-held machines. We have procured 50,000 litres of sodium hypochlorite worth Rs 15 lakh from Gwalior. Around 500 litres are being used on a daily basis,” she said.
Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra and deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya have released Rs 1 crore each from the RMC’s citizen welfare fund for intensifying the fight against coronavirus.
Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar has also sanctioned Rs 3 lakh from his MP fund.