The Kolkata Municipal Corporation that was desperately looking for spaces to set up quarantine centers received a shot in the arm when the Imam of the Jamia Masjid Gausia, popularly known as the Bangali Bazar Masjid, proposed to give the entire third floor of the mosque on Iron Gate Road for quarantine purpose, reported The Times of India.
The move came about after locals in the Garden Reach cluster came up with the proposal.
Maulana Qari Md Muslim Razwi, the Imam of the mosque said, “It is a 6,000sqft space that we are offering for both locals and those from adjoining areas. But if more space is needed, we are ready to make arrangements. The options include opening up two other floors and schools in our area. KMC may use this space for quarantine purposes. We have readied it to the best of our efforts.” He added that the decision of using the mosque as quarantine centre was taken after both, the police and the KMC officials approached them.
“I was aware there was some opposition to setting up such centres elsewhere and I decided to discuss it with residents of Bangali Bazar, Iron Gate Road and Bichali Ghat Road. These are the people who offer their prayers here. The mosque is temporarily shut and it took a little bit of time to talk to everyone while maintaining social distance. However, we agreed on the plan and communicated it to the administration, including the Port division police,” said Razwi.
Ward 134 Councillor Shams Iqbal who took up the initiative on behalf of the KMC, said that his family had been associated with the development of the mosque for a long time. He said, “Since most of us are praying from home now, I took this initiative on behalf of the KMC. I am happy that the locals and Imam Razwi welcomed the idea.”
The area of wards 134 and 135 has multiple containment zones. “There are containment zones at Paharpur, Shyamlal Lane, Kasai Moholla, Bengali Bazar, Iron Gate Road and Bichali Ghat Road in Ward 135 and Ramnagar Lane, Fatehpur village and Maher Manzil in Ward 134,” said a KMC official.
Many residents of this area pray at the Bangali Bazar Mosque and Imam Razwi and Iqbal said that the original purpose of setting up a quarantine centre in the mosque was to make the residents feel at home. “It was a collective decision that everyone should feel there is a home open for them so they do not shy away from going to the quarantine centre if advised by KMC or health department officials,” Razwi said.
KMC officials are to inspect the facility soon. A KMC official said, “We are overwhelmed by the development. We hope others, too, come forward, especially since we suffered some setbacks in a few areas like Tiljala and Parnasree due to resistance from locals. We will ascertain that the mosque is not located in a crowded area and then accordingly communicate our decision.”
Currently, the number of total coronavirus in West Bengal stand at 1,548 with 1,101 active cases. The death toll for coronavirus patients stands at 79 and if death where co-morbidities are considered, the death toll stands at 151. The state currently has one of the highest mortality rates in the country at 9.75 percent.
The state has 10 red zones and 516 containment zones with most infections coming in from Kolkata, Howrah and North 24 Parganas.