Chandigarh diary: Al that has been happening in the City of Beauty

While the Shivalik hills has become clearly visible to the residents of Chandigarh, IIT-Ropar has come up with a mobile app to track whether someone has been in contact with COVID-19 patients.

Published: 04th April 2020 08:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2020 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

Volunteers at Chandigarh University with a a special serving trolley.

Volunteers at Chandigarh University with a a special serving trolley. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

Clean air to breathe

There has been a silver lining to the ongoing lockdown. The view of Shivalik hills, which normally remains blocked because of a thick haze, is now clearly visible to the residents of Chandigarh. Curfew remains imposed by the UT administration.

Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city on March 31 was 40. It was far better on March 29 when AQI was recorded at 17 — the cleanest air among India’s 101 towns and cities according to the data collated by the CPCB.

App that tracks contact history

The IIT-Ropar has come up with a mobile app, ‘MANU’, which can be used by individuals to track whether they have been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

A research scholar of the IIT-Ropar’s Biomedical Engineering Department has developed this app. The application works by maintaining a record of all those with whom an individual has been in close contact with.

Suppose a person had close contact with another in a crowded place and then the latter test positive, then the first person will be informed about his or her contact history so they can take relevant measures to take care of their health and prevent its spread further. "We realised that there is a need for such technology and developed the model within a span of a week," says Ankita Dey, the research scholar from IIT-Ropar.

Government provides meals to the poor and needy

As thousands of people are left without jobs, the Chandigarh administration along with social organisations is organising langars (community kitchens) to feed the poor and the needy. Under the Annapurna Akshaypatra Scheme, the UT administration is providing cooked food to 1,000 people at colonies for Rs 10 each.

After assessing the situation, officials decided to increase the number of packets to over 35,000. The administration also decided on a humanitarian ground that the payment of these packets of cooked food be made optional for those availing them. The government distributes the food through the special van that is allotted for distributing the food items.

Social distancing measure

Chandigarh University at Gharuan, has designed a special serving trolley that is being used by volunteers of the university to serve cooked meals twice a day to the poor in Mohali villages. The trolley has been made from a water cooler stand and can handle 30-kg food.

This cooler was available in the university junkyard. The Chandigarh University has been running a campaign, ‘CU-AID’, for distributing food among the poor. The university community mess is preparing and distributing cooked meals among more than 2,000 people. It plans to cover more needy people by the next week in Chandigarh.

(The author can be contacted at

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