Two-day lockdown: Calcutta Police urges people to stay home

A policeman makes announcements about Thursday’s lockdown on a loudhailer in Lake Market on Wednesday evening.
Gautam Bose
Several officers said they would take “strict legal measures” if people not part of the exempted categories were found stepping out

Police campaigned across the city on Wednesday informing citizens of the complete lockdown on Thursday, Saturday and Wednesday and the possible consequences of violating the order.

Several police officers said they would take “strict legal measures” if people not part of the exempted categories were found stepping out of their homes on the lockdown days. The government has announced that the entire state would be under complete lockdown from 6am to 10pm twice every week.

That apart, a government order announced earlier bans movement of individuals — except those in exempted categories — between 10pm and 5am.

Police stations across the city deployed teams that announced the lockdown norms through loudhailers in markets and other public places and outside housing complexes.

“No one is expected to be outside their home. During the previous lockdown, people were allowed to go to grocery shops or the local market. This time even that will not be allowed,” said an officer of Ballygunge police station.

Delivery of cooking gas cylinders and milk will be suspended during the lockdown. Oil companies fear this might add to the consumers’ waiting period for LPG cylinders.

Officers in the Bidhannagar commissionerate said cops would be deployed at bus stops to ensure those not engaged in essential services did not avail themselves of the skeletal public transport that would be available on Thursday and Saturday.

In Calcutta, the markets where the police made announcements included the ones in Maniktala, Gariahat, Jadavpur, Behala and Chitpore. The footfall at some of the markets was higher than on other days in the evening.

The vegetable section at Lake market was bustling with activity an hour before it was to close by 9pm. The Koley market in Sealdah, too, witnessed a surge in the number of shoppers after sundown.

The crowd at the Gariahat market was “normal”, a police officer said.

Violators will be prosecuted under the disaster management act and can be imprisoned for up to two years. Individuals prosecuted for lockdown violation can be directly referred to a magistrate.

All major markets under the Barrackpore commissionerate, including the ones in Baranagar, Alambazar and Sinthee, were closed on Wednesday, too. Joint teams of police and civic officials closed down a number of standalone shops and eateries.

The police stations in Calcutta that have multiple housing complexes in their areas deployed teams that made announcements outside the estates that residents would be prosecuted even if they were found loitering inside.

Several housing complexes in the city have prepared their own rules to implement the lockdown by imposing restrictions on the entry of domestic help, visitors and vendors.

“It has been notified that the staff who commute daily will not be allowed on the lockdown days. Only those help who stay with the family will be exempted from the lockdown. We have been told that vendors, too, will not be allowed to enter the complex on the specified dates,” said a resident of Urbana, a housing complex off the Ruby crossing.

An officer of a south Calcutta police station said they would also stop vendors and help who would be spotted walking to their employers’ house.

“The person will have to explain why he or she has stepped out. Going to a workplace that does not fall under the exempted category will not be allowed. The person will be prosecuted,” said the officer.

Services exempted during lockdown

⦾ Health services including movement of health personnel or patients by private/public vehicles
⦾ Medicine shops and pharmacies
⦾ Police stations, courts, correctional services, fire and emergency services
⦾ Electricity, water and conservancy services
⦾ Continuous process industries like steel plants and industries within-house workers
⦾ Agriculture operations; tea-garden operations in field
⦾ Inter-state and intra-state movement of goods
⦾ E-commerce, capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI
⦾ Print, electronic and social media
⦾ Home delivery of cooked food


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