The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is using high-tech machinery and drones to sanitize summer capital, Srinagar in view of the unprecedented ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Divulging details, the Commissioner, SMC, Gazanfar Ali said that the General Council meeting conducted on March 10 to combat deadly Covid-l9 virus provided a detailed outlook and futuristic plan to the SMC and its officials.
“We geared our men and machinery immediately after the Council meeting,” Ali said. “We also studied the crumbling of the administrative, healthcare and solid waste management order in some developed countries and build our roadmap on that,” he said.
The Commissioner said that SMC was continuing all its efforts to mitigate the spread of dreaded Covid-19 virus. He said that Srinagar Municipal Corporation has incorporated a robust and large scale high-end mechanism in the vulnerable areas for decontamination.
“To slow down the unprecedented outbreak, it was a major challenge before SMC to cope with. In this regard a meeting was convened by the SMC Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattoo—where decisions were taken to procure disinfecting chemicals and machines for decontamination,” Gazanfer Ali said.
Keeping in view the exigency of all this, the whole machinery was airlifted by the Indian Air Force. Procurement of safety equipment—including bodysuits, hand gloves, masks, goggles and alcohol-based hand sanitizers was also done swiftly.
“Since the outbreak was so fast that there was no time for conducting meetings framing any strategy to combat Covid-19 as a routine matter,” he said. “This also made the situation worse in some areas—which later became epicentres,” he said, adding “In some situations, you being in administration learn with the mistakes of others, so do we. We are constantly reaching out to the people and at the same time, studying the trends of the virus,” he said.
He informed that during the Council meeting, the decision was taken on war footing basis for taking the preventive measures and the machinery and chemicals were procured for decontamination of the Srinagar city.
“We immediately swung into action. 150 shoulder-mounted spray machines (automatic mechanical) were procured on an exigency basis for decontamination purpose which proved to be fruitful,” he said, adding “Sufficient number of manual spraying shoulder-mounted machines also proved to be effective in the process of sanitization,” he said.
The Commissioner informed that chemicals-Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC)— a 5th generation chemical and Sodium Hypo Chlorite plus bleach have been procured in bulk—this he said has provided highly effective in the sanitation process across the City hospitals and streets, Mohallas and Up line areas.
The Commissioner informed that essential decontamination sprayer with double nozzle, long pipe motors too procured and the ground staff has been instructed to use them—following the WHO and Government of India guidelines. Besides this, procurement of boom sprayer tractor-mounted, mist blower made in Italy has been procured and airlifted to Srinagar from Mumbai with the help of Indian Air Force.
The Commissioner said that the safety of staff and SMC workers—working on the front line was paramount. He said in this regard, procurement and allotment of safety equipment, gears viz. Bodysuits, hand gloves, masks, goggles and alcohol-based hand-sanitizers have been ensured. “It is our front-line worker who is out there to sanitize Srinagar City and then making things workable for us. We are there to work for them and their welfare,” Ali said. “I must put it on the record here that SMC is highly thankful to our ground staff for the dedication and commitment,” he added.
The Commissioner said that besides this, all the erected advertisement hoardings were removed from the city and where replaced with the message of following the advisory published by the government from time to time-Stay Home and Stay Safe.
“All the media print, electronic and social were utilised for the mass awareness to combat and arrest the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
After learning that Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC) chemical was proving helpful, the SMC incorporated drones in its list to reduce the transmission mechanism.
“Drones proved to be more efficient and feasible alternative of spraying the decontamination droplets in the congested areas while efforts made to use the technology in a safe and scientific manner,” the Commissioner said.
Likewise, the first of its kind disinfection tunnel was also introduced in fighting the virus spread, and the same was installed at CD hospital Dalgate where every patient and attendant is sprayed chemical droplets before entering the hospital.
“The Mechanical Engineering Department of the SMC took an innovative step and formed a decontamination tunnel which was installed at CD Hospital, Dalgate with the promise that more tunnels will be installed in all the hospitals and other vulnerable public places for which work is under process.”
The administration of the Corporation made the rapid action teams within a short span of time with all arrangements for decontamination of the declared positive Covid-19 case areas round the radius of 300 meters. The places which were Sterilized in the first phase when the first Covid-l9 positive case was declared/ detected at Khayam/ Khanyar to the radius of 300 meters with the help of Drone facility by SMC. Moreover, the Hospitals have been Sterilized with the chemical QAC along with the essential vehicles/ Ambulances.
A horizontal incinerator unit with a stack of height 25 meters length 4.5 meters height 3 meters and 200 KV of burning efficiency was fabricated on war footing basis where the Quarantine waste is being disposed off to avoid any further burden to the Health Department.