BHUBANESWAR: It was not a case of routine monitoring of garbage collection, fixing defunct street lights, removing clogs from drains and solving waterlogging. The city civic body was facing an unlikely and uphill task — tackling a pandemic.
Before March first week, things looked fine at Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). It all changed once the government came out with Covid regulations on March 13.
Led by commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhury, the BMC, however, rose to the occasion. It appointed a nodal officer, Suvendu Sahu, an Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) officer, to work 24×7 and coordinate with all concerned to meet a crisis that no one had ever faced. In the initial days, the BMC fought hard to trace the contacts who had come in touch with a positive person. Surya Nagar became the first containment zone and the BMC struggled to supply essential commodities to people on time, drawing criticism. But as days passed, BMC learnt to adapt.
“In the initial days contact tracing was difficult. We had to bring in doctors, paramedics and data entry operators and assistant section officers to team up to maintain data and trace contacts. Through contact tracing, people could be isolated. By June, we had known what sort of intervention was required to handle the crisis,” recalled Sahu.