Society

Gazing into the future

The metal pedal-operated sanitiser pedal at CEEBROS Belvedere. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Spool back seven months. At CEEBROS Belvedere, jugaad had broken new ground. Temporary wash basins had come up, one at the entrance, and another in the garden. Connected to Sintex dustbins, these wash basins were a home-brewed idea. Right now, another jugaad is brewing at this gated community on Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) — 28 pedal-operated sanitiser stands are being made in-house. They would soon keep the “temporary” wash basins company.

Girish Narayanan, president, CEEBROS Belvedere Owners Association (CBOA) reveals, “We continue to have those wash basins at the gate and in a couple of other places. Besides, at the entrance to each block, a metal-based pedal-operated hand sanitiser stand has been parked. The next plan is to have one such stand at every floor.”

Hitting jugaad street

The community has seven blocks, each coming with four floors. So, providing sanitiser stands on 28 floors is the target.

“The Facilities Management Team is making pedal-operated sanitiser stands themselves instead of buying them from outside. They have already made a few makeshift pedal stands by using PVC pipes,” elaborates Girish, adding that already a couple of makeshift pedal stands made with PVC pipes have been pressed into service.

Girish wants to see hand-washing becoming a visible feature of community living, going well beyond the pandemic. Keeping germs of all stripes at bay, at all times, does not hurt anyone.

“By keeping a sanitiser stand on each floor, it becomes a more personalised solution for residents of that floor,” says Girish, adding that the pedal-stand project has invited sponsorships.

At the OSR park which comes paired with playthings, a stage and a basketball court that doubles as a badminton court, a permanent wash basin is set to be installed. Water and soap would be kept at the facility.

“The idea is that anyone entering the OSR area washes their hands, and washes again before leaving,” he says. “It is mandated and will be a permanent feature.”

A major reason for having a permanent sanitisation station at the OSR park is to protect children from other infections as well, he points out.

“Children can carry scabies, picking it from the mud. When they come home, they may immediately take a snack, forgetting to wash their hands. If we mandate washing of hands at the park itself, we ensure that kids are going to do it.”

Though Girish would like to say that the pedal-operated sanitiser stands would also be a permanent feature, he chooses to puts a guarded and realistic number to the initiative, for the time being.

“For another one year, at the least.”

Also read: Have you ever considered putting your community on a ‘declutter’ diet?

Gateway to safety

A rack at the entrance of gated communities is a symbol of these times. Where deliveries are concerned, a great number of communities want to keep the exercise restricted to the gate for some more time to come. Many of them have gone in for a rack to make the collection process safer and easier.

“Three months ago, we kept a simple cost-effective rack at the gate, and it has changed the workflow and increased social distancing and minimised the time of contact between the community’s security staff and delivery professionals. Delivery persons straightaway keep these parcels on the racks. The security staff only have to hand it over when residents come to collect it,” says Suresh Dhayaalan, secretary, Victoria Towers Owners Welfare Association.

“There is a likelihood of this prop becoming a permanent feature,” adds Suresh, whose gated community is in Kazhipattur, OMR.

Even after communities feel safe about accepting deliveries on the doorsteps, will they offer the option of a safe facility at the gate where these can be deposited for collection?

If they do become a permanent feature, would these collection racks get more sophisticated, even evolving into a fool-proof locker system? Or would collection facilities be integrated into the construction, and made up of brick and mortar?

The pandemic has left us with more questions than answers, with many sure-footed answer stumbling along the way.

One observable feature is that, at this point in time, as communities try to streamline the deliveries collection process, many of them are prepared to spare some generous real estate and metal for it.

“We want to have the deliveries made at the gate for at least one more year. We have cleared a storeroom of electrical fittings — hardly ten metres from the gate — and are using it to keep the deliveries. We are going to place seven racks inside this room, one dedicated rack for each block. The delivery person would deliver the goods at the gate; collecting it, the security staff will place it in the appropriate rack, and inform the resident concerned. Residents have to collect their deliveries,” says Girish.

Wheel in a feature

One adjustment often necessitates other adjustments. At Appaswamy Cityside in Kandanchavady, a trolley used by the housekeeping staff for their work has been repurposed as a vehicle to transport deliveries to residents’ doorsteps.

“As the grabage collection bins come with wheels, we decided the trolley could be spared to meet a new exigency. The trolley is kept at the gate and when a heavy item or a collection of items have been delivered, and the resident concerned cannot lug it all the way back to their home, they could use the trolley,” says Rabiya Aftab, Association president at Appaswamy Cityside. “We may go in for one more trolley for this purpose. As we are just a 136-unit apartment, two trolleys would do.”

Though at present, the security staff wheel in deliveries for senior citizens at the community, Rabiya thinks after the pandemic, seniors may even want to exercise this option themselves, that is if the system of delivery of goods at the gate is allowed to continue.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 5:50:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/gazing-into-the-future/article32935704.ece

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