Once a late night hangout for those roaming around with open tea stalls and famous patiya chats, the Jahangirabad area in Bhopal now wears a deserted look even during the day time, with heavy barricading at different places.
With 45 fresh cases, Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal continues to be a red zone and Jahangirabad continues to be a cause of concern for the administration, with the 221 cases totalling almost one-fourth of the total infection cases reported by the city until now.
The cramped three kilometre stretch that connects the old and new city had reported 203 coronavirus cases by Tuesday, with 14 fresh cases of infection. The maximum cases of infection have been reported from Ahirpur Road, Church Road and Jinsi, a bustling commercial area on normal days.
The area is also known for cramped roads, congested by-lanes and small crowded houses, all charecteristics of an old city.
The area holds special significance for MP police as several prominent establishments including Police Headquarters, the Special Task Force HQ, Seventh Battalion HQ, Police Training and Research Institute (PTRI), Police Officers’ Mess, Home Guards HQ, Police Control Room and others are based in the jurisdiction of the Jahangirabad police station area and the region includes several police residential colonies as well.
Positive cases of coronavirus among policemen and their families too have been reported from the area. The area continued to concern authorities on Wednesday as 18 new cases were reported.
Aware of the gravity of the situation here, the administration has deployed police, revenue, health and administrative officers in the area. The red zone has been sealed from all sides.
The locals have been locked in their homes and have been offered three layered security by the administration. Besides routine cleaning, the municipal corporation sanitises the area regularly.
Revenue department staffers have been used to undertake massive sampling and screening in the area and 300 are being screened on a daily basis.
In further efforts to flatten the curve, the administration is shifting locals to others areas - including those people who have tested positive. After first positive case was detected at Jahangirabad on April 4, cases have consistently rises. The Mangalwara area in the old city has also been a hotspot after reporting its first case on April 22.
Other areas including Aishbagh, Ahsoka Garden, Chhawni-Koh-e-Fiza, Talaiya and others are also reporting cases on a regular basis.
The densely-populated areas in these localities have houses with 10-12 members and some of them are being shifted to other localities with proper facilities including food, games for kids, TVs and such amenities.
The administration fear that people living in such close quarters could lead to rapid spread of the virus which could further aggravate the situation. Each sensitive area has been assigned to a different officer, with CCTV surveillance on hand to ensure a complete lockdown is observed.
Till now 500 locals have been shifted elsewhere from dense localities, an administration official said.
In the case of positive patients in these areas it is the first contacts, those falling on the person's commuting route and connected to patients are being tested and their health is then monitored for ten days, the official added.
Until Wednesday Bhopal has reported 887 Covid-19 cases, including 34 deaths.
Indore set to extend lockdown
The current lockdown in Madhya Pradesh's Indore district, which has so far recorded 2,107 COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths, looks set to be extended at least till May 31, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The third phase of the coronavirus-induced national lockdown will remain in force till May 17.
"In view of the COVID-19 situation, we will take an appropriate decision by holding discussions with public representatives and others to extend the lockdown beyond May 17," Indore district collector Manish Singh told reporters.
He said that people should be mentally prepared that the lockdown can be extended till May 31 in the district. Singh also informed that commercial and industrial activities are being restored in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh.
"We have so far allowed about 350 industrial units in the rural areas of the district to resume production. In addition, works in plants of flour, pulses, edible oils, spices etc. also resumed," he said.
The first coronavirus outbreak in Indore district was reported on March 24.
(With PTI inputs)