Police to crack the whip to prevent crowding

East Marret Street in Madurai teeming with men and vehicles on Friday.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

With crowding of people reported in certain pockets of Madurai in the morning hours, the City Police have warned of stringent action against those flouting lockdown norms from Saturday.

“Unlike last year, this lockdown comes with lot of exemptions,” a senior police officer said. People are allowed to move till 12 noon for shopping of essential goods. Similarly, vegetable and groceries shops are open till then. “Hotels are opened in three time slots which attract lot of take-away buyers. With more patients in hospitals, their attendants had to travel,” he said.

Last year, people feared police action. But this year, there is a palpable fear of infection and people stay indoors. “Only some daredevil youths unnecessarily roam around,” another officer said.

The circular by Director General of Police to not use force and avoid seizure of vehicles, unlike last year, has also tied the hands of police. With cargo movement not curtailed and construction activity allowed, lot of vehicles are on roads.

However, officials are worried about increase in deaths. “Each day 60 to 70 bodies are cremated in Thathaneri and Keeraithurai crematoriums. If we want to prevent deaths, crowding must stop,” a senior officer said.

“We do not find much violation of lockdown rules after 12 noon as most of the people remain indoors,” said Commissioner of Police Prem Anand Sinha. However, he was bothered over crowding at shops in the morning hours. “People shop every day for fresh vegetables, which is not safe. Similarly, there are crowds of bargain hunters,” he said.

The police plan to curtail movement of people to far off places to buy groceries and vegetables to prevent crowding in bazaars. “Police picketing will be put at vantage points to prevent people from moving from one area to another,” Mr. Sinha said.

Similarly, the police have warned of shuttering down shops that fail to maintain social distancing norms.

Dindigul, Theni

The situation is not any different in Dindigul and Theni districts. In Dindigul, police distributed leaflets, urging people not to come out unnecessarily. The police said they let off violators with a warning, but the surveillance would be intensified in the coming days and appropriate action taken against violators.

In Theni, police warned the violators and urged them to stay at home. They plan to deploy more personnel at key junctions.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 5:09:31 AM |

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