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COVID-19: Tale of two neighbouring territories

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on April 10, 2020

Delhi police checking the commuters amid lockdown.   -  Kamal Narang

Delhi cops better protected than their counterparts in neighbouring Noida against COVID-19

Police personnel across Delhi and Gautam Budh Nagar (largely Noida and Greater Noida) are geared up to bring order to these territories reeling under COVID-19 spread. But their preparedness and access to personal protective equipments and sanitisers vary a lot.

These are two of the more severely affected regions in the country where large number of patients are being treated for COVID-19 within a relatively small area.

According to a field study by BusinessLine, police personnel in Delhi are far better equipped than their counterparts in Noida and other parts of Gautam Budh Nagar.

As per official data (evening April 9), there have been 720 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the national capital. Uttar Pradesh has 410 cases of which 63 are in Gautam Budh Nagar. Presently there are 683 active cases in Delhi while there are 51 active patients in Gautam Budh Nagar.

In a reflection of the severity of spread in the region, Delhi has identified and sealed 20 COVID-19 hotspots. The Gautam Budh Nagar administration has announced and completely locked down 22 hotspots.

Decentralised procurement

“Being an emergency situation, each police station has been allowed to make procurements to meet the need of masks, hand sanitisers and gloves for police personnel. We are also supplying and procuring safety gear as and when it is available to meet the demand,” a Delhi police official told BusinessLine.

“To aid the sanitation drive, four high powered machines have also been leased from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),” the official added.

Delhi police ground personnel seconded the same.

“We have all been provided masks, gloves and sanitisers. In addition to the supplies, some of us have bought these on our own too. Contributions from civil society groups are also coming handy,” police personnel at a picket in South Delhi said.

A Delhi police personnel posted at the Amar Colony station said that police stations are rationalising manpower to enable some level of social distancing within the force. “In an unusual step, the police personnel are being asked to rest at home and not huddle at the station,”the official said.

Evidently under equipped

But the situation is starkly different in neighbouring Noida and Greater Noida West, the hub of most hotspots identified to be strictly shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here too, each station is individually sourcing protection equipment.

While Noida police personnel in Sector 18 (under the jurisdiction of Sector 20 police station) insist that they were supplied gloves, masks, and sanitisers, none were wearing gloves or had sanitisers with them. Across Noida, there were hardly any police personnel wearing gloves on the day the hotspots were identified.

Closer to Greater Noida West, police personnel deployed say that they have not been supplied any such protective gear.

“Some people from civil society groups would just give us masks and safety equipment. But nothing from the Police department yet,” a Sub-inspector posted a week ago in the locality now surrounded by COVID-19 hotspot areas had said.

Published on April 10, 2020

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