Permanent road closure in south Mumbai
The traffic police has announced to “All vehicular traffic plying from Eastern Freeway’s down ramp and MbPT Road via Wadala going towards P D’Mello Road as well as all vehicular traffic plying from Wadi Bunder Junction, P D’Mello Road, going towards Wadala via MbPT Road under the Freeway at Orange Gate Junction is permanently closed”.
The closure comes as a consequence of construction and development that Mumbai Port is undertaking on Marina Bay. In the notification issued on July 8, Pravinkumar Padwal, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said that to prevent any danger, acting on Mumbai Port Trust’s request, the Mumbai Traffic Police have decided to close the entry at Orange Gate junction to enter all types of vehicles from Wadi Bunder junction via P. D’mello Road and exit Wadi Bunder and Mazgaon via Eastern Freeway down the ramp and Mumbai Port Trust Road from Wadala/ Sewri.
Read more: Want safer roads? Become better drivers.
COVID-19 deaths recede across Mumbai
The recorded COVID-19 fatalities in the city dropped to single digits this week. Of the nine deceased patients, five were senior citizens and three were in the 40-59 years age group. The city had previously reported casualties in single digits on June 8 and July 7.
However, the test positivity rate (TPR) seems to be on the rise. While last week, the TPR had stabilized at 1.3 percent, has begun hovering around 1.6 to 1.7 this week. Even though the BMC had announced a public drive to vaccinate pregnant women starting July 12, a paucity of vaccines postponed these inoculation plans to July 15.
Bombay Parsi Punchayet demands Dokhmenashini
Bombay Parsi Punchayet has voted to petition the High Court to consign the bodies of Parsis who have passed after contracting COVID-19 to the Towers of Silence. Dokhmenashini is a Parsi ritual wherein the body of a deceased is kept at a height over a well. The body is consumed by vultures and subsequently naturally decomposes into the well (dakhma).
The practice of natural decomposition has been contentious even within the Parsi community since the disappearance of vultures in Bombay, a consequent decline due to the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac. The drug is often fed to cattle and other livestock and also functions as a painkiller for human beings. The trustee of the Panchayat, Noshir Dadawala, told Mid-Day that although the legalese could take some time, the Parsi community in Bombay is determined to return to conducting Dokhmenashini rituals for their loved ones.
Commuter associations threaten protest
Demanding the re-opening of public access to local trains, commuter associations have submitted a ‘Right To Travel’ plan to Maharashtra’s railway authorities. They have also stated that they will protest if their demands are not heeded. While work has resumed, the majority of Mumbaikars are struggling with daily travel. Bus queues have worsened and commute time has lengthened considerably for many.
The BMC is considering allowing fully vaccinated residents to travel on local trains soon. However, no decision has been announced. Local train service has taken a hit even for approved personnel due to the recent waterlogging in several areas.
Read more: Battles to board the local train
New public parking plans to arrive in three wards
Mumbai Parking Authority (MPA) is aiming to start implementation of its parking plans in the administrative wards of Grant Road (D), Andheri west (K-West) and Bhandup (S), by August. The project seeks to digitize the booking of parking slots and revise rates for parking in the city. Mumbai Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal has also suggested that a online portal which tracks available parking spaces be established.
The MPA will also develop a mobile app through which vehicle owners can find parking spaces. It is unclear whether the MPA will also tackle the decision to levy property taxes on parking lots in commercial spaces such as shopping malls- which are currently exempt from any tax charges.
Mumbai faces acute blood shortage
A serious crisis looms in the city as vaccinations and surgeries increase. Blood banks are being forced to reach out to organisations and hold donation camps. The head of the State Blood Transfusion Council, Dr Arun Thorat, said that Maharashtra usually has 40,000-50,000 units of blood in stock. Mumbai, which is supposed to have 5,000 units, is struggling with only 3,200 left.
Thorat commented that the vaccination drives for COVID-19 have hampered blood donation drives. A person who has been inoculated cannot donate blood for 15 days which has resulted in difficulties for restocking blood units. Thalassemia patients have suffered the biggest setback. As of July 16, less than 3,500 units remain in the entire city’s 55 blood banks, which could last for a minimum of four days.