Lack of oxygen supply hits Mumbai
Waiting periods for hospital beds, especially ICU, ventilator, and oxygen beds, have considerably lengthened in the city. According to BMC data, only 661 oxygen beds were vacant and they were vacated due to supply shortages. In order to meet high demands, the first ‘Oxygen Express’ has left for Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and will transport liquid medical oxygen for Maharashtra’s usage. Volunteer groups have also attempted to aid the cylinder crunch in Mumbai. Several mosques in Mumbra, Mira Road, Kalyan, and Bhiwandi are providing oxygen cylinders to the city’s hospitals.
Mumbai’s poor face hunger crises; volunteers fill gap in public welfare
Welfare measures to protect Mumbai’s poor are proving to be inadequate. Restricted to specific categories of registered people, the proposed benefits will exclude a large segment of urban poor especially migrant workers. The Shiv Bhojan meals too will only amount to 2 lakh free meals a day across the entire state leading to growing food insecurity in an already precarious month of Ramzan. Volunteer groups have since the first lockdown in 2020 tried to reach out to vulnerable citizens. Helping Hands Charitable trust focuses on distributing ration to sex workers, trans people, and daily wage workers. Khaana Chahiye serves meals within slum spaces and to unhoused people. Individual families like that of Shaadab Patel are ensuring provision of necessities to poor families.
Read More: COVID-19 Relief: Access to food remains a struggle for Mumbai’s poor, Mumbai youth group urges support for the poor as they face starvation, job cuts along with COVID risk
BEST cuts 1000 buses; last year’s questions echoed
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) announced on April 21st that it will cut its fleet of buses by almost 1,000 during the current restrictions. Compared to earlier numbers of 25-27 lakh passengers per day, the influx in BEST buses has reduced to 11-16 lakh in Mumbai. BEST has slowly privatized its buses which have dropped from 3,000 to 2,068. Now, 1,150 buses are owned by private contractors. In September of 2020, controversy had erupted due to a deal between BEST and the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) where BEST would borrow 200-1000 buses from MSRTC along with the services of MSRTC drivers and conductors. This move was heavily criticized as MSRTC workers had far less knowledge of Mumbai routes and claimed that this was a result of the BMC cutting Rs. 500 crores off of BEST funding.
Death row convict dies of COVID-19; mother alleges foul play
Kamal Ansari, who was put on death row due to his alleged involvement in the 2006 Mumbai blasts, has died of COVID-19. Jail authorities had not informed Ansari’s family in Bihar that he contracted coronavirus. His family has claimed negligence and demand an inquiry into his death. Ansari’s mother states that Nagpur prison authorities did not allow her to meet her son and believes he was the target of custodial killing. Mumbai’s prisons have been reporting dangerously high numbers of cases. 40 incarcerated women were tested positive on April 21st and shifted to hospitals in Central and South Mumbai.
Violence against girls and women continues unabated
Girls and women across the city continue to face mental and physical violence. A man in Nalasopara extorted his ex-girlfriend for Rs 1.5 lakhs by blackmailing her with private videos of theirs. Despite having paid the amount, the man forwarded the videos to the girl’s recent fiancé which led to the wedding being cancelled. A lower-caste woman police officer stationed in Dongri has accused a fellow police officer of rape and assault. In Bandra, three men and a juvenile have been booked for repeatedly raping a minor girl. The girl was being blackmailed by the group with a video of the sexual assault that they later shared on social media.
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Mumbai’s trans community appeals for financial aid
Dai Welfare Society, an organization working towards ensuring protections for Mumbai’s trans community, has appealed the state government for a financial packaging amounting to Rs. 5,000 for every trans person in the city. The organization has demanded that this be done without the need for Aadhar, ration, or PAN cards as the trans community faces huge obstacles in accessing those. Despite this, the state’s Social Justice department has been contemplating aid of only Rs. 1,500 which the organization says is too little.
Source: Times of India
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More young people in COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 infection statistics
Doctors and experts are now warning that the second wave of COVID-19 in India is having serious consequences for children and young people alike. In Parel’s KEM hospital, admissions of virus cases in the under-35 age group jumped 10% between 2020 to 2021. Some also point out possible changes in disease pattern of the COVID cycle. Although younger individuals may appear asymptomatic for the first 10 days, many are being hospitalized due to their body producing cytokins into the blood too quickly thereafter. There is also a threat of an inflammatory illness for children weeks after they have had COVID-19.
[Complied by Nihira]