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In the times of COVID-19 crisis, if all the Indians will come together to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we will sail through the bad time. When the time is like the COVID-19 pandemic is at the verge of its peek, there are people who are voluntary going for self-quarantine. Self-quarantine refers to the time period of 14 or more days when one person isolates him/her from everyone and stays at home. Although the recommended period of self-quarantine is 14 days, but you can also go for a higher number of days. The self-quarantine goal is to stop the spread of coronavirus. It demands your separation from other the procedure of people to determine whether or not you're infected with the coronavirus.
Following the self-quarantine, there is an island where people voluntarily went into self-quarantine. Yes, you heard it right, without any obligations and compulsion, the people of the Panju Island which is located in off Mumbai are doing self-quarantine. This is first of its kind united voluntary action on any isle in the world.
Tiny Panju Island is very near to Thane's border and this island is spread over an area of 2.50 sq km. It is around 15 km away from Borivali station. The footfall at the Panju Island is very minimum and it is hardly noticed by daily commuters. Although these commuters travel through the Western Railway's Borivali-Virar suburban sector but they hardly notice this Panju island.
Famous for 'zero-pollution' and no-vehicle zone is having only one school and a tiny health center. There are a number of temples. Several farms of rice, vegetables, guavas, chikoo, banana, mango, jamun and coconut where local people cultivate.
With a rich history going back to the day of the legendary Maratha commander, General Chimaji Appa (1707-1740), who fought the Portuguese aggressors from the island, Panju village was home to 21 martyrs who died during India's Independence struggle.
The area of Tiny Panju Island is covered with an area of the green oasis of 600-acres. Here you can find swaying coconut trees, large swathes of salt pans, farms of rice, fruits and vegetable. These farms fall between the two arms of Thane Creek and they separate the Maharashtra state's commercial capital Mumbai from the mainland. When suburban local trains cross over, Panju Island seen between WR's Bhayandar and Naigaon station.
Sarpanch of Panju village Ashish Bhoir said, "The development came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Janata Curfew' call on Sunday, followed by other tough measures implemented by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The approximately 1,500 villagers decided to remain in self-quarantine till March 31, or as long as the authorities want."
Things are done by Panju Island's people -
- Suspension of 30-odd ferry services - At the Panju island, there are 30-odd ferries which run throughout the day and linking Panju Island with the mainland at Naigaon. As a precautionary measure, people have suspended the operation of these 30 ferries.
- People working in Mumbai not going outside - There are a number of people who are work in Mumbai-Thane and for this purpose they used to travel. As a precautionary measure, all those people are sitting at home.
- Children bunking school - All the children of this island who are going to school are bunking and enjoying a long vacation period at home till schools reopen.
- Tourists arrival banned - There is a number of visitors and tourists who come to this island on everyday basis. To stop the spread of coronavirus, entry of tourists and outsiders like workers are totally banned.
- Fishing and dredging boats - There are around 100 fishing and dredging boats that are tied at the shore.
- Annual Panju jamboree on Hanuman Jayanti - This event was planned to happen on April 1 but it is canceled due to coronavirus pandemic.
Ashish Bhoir said, "Fortunately, nobody on the island's mixed age-group population of Marathis has exhibited any signs of COVID-19 so far but we are taking no chances. So, we unanimously decided to remain in complete isolation until the danger signals recede."
Kiran Bhoir added, "Even the weekly congregational prayers (satsangs) are stopped till further orders, as also the annual village sports tournaments in April, to prevent crowding. We are taking all precautions to ensure Coronavirus doesn't attack our beautiful island."
A daily wage earner worker Raju Patil told that around 10 percent of the total population of the island is earning their livings by daily wages. The only source of their survival is daily wages. He said, "In a good gesture, the Sarpanch has directed the other villagers to take care of all such people and their families by providing them with food and other essentials as and when required.
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