Bengaluru

Short of personnel, city police seek volunteers

Over 500 police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19.

Over 500 police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19.   | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

On the frontlines of the fight against the pandemic, the city police have now called upon citizen volunteers to join the force to help with the fight as over 2,500 police personnel are unavailable for work.

Over 500 of them have tested positive for COVID-19, nearly 700 others are under quarantine, and the rest on leave as they are above 55 years of age or above 45 with serious co-morbidities.

“The police have been at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 taking up work they were never trained for and have no experience of. Eight police personnel have laid down their lives due to COVID-19, but we are ready to work 24x7. But with several personnel not available for work, policing is taking a hit. So we have decided to rope in citizen volunteers to help us with our work,” said Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao on Tuesday.

These volunteers will be called civil police wardens, and will be given a cap and a jacket. They will be posted at police stations to do paperwork and at barricades on roads to assist policemen. There are 154 police stations in the city. Each station is in the need of at least 100 volunteers, the Commissioner said.

The wardens will be posted on a shift basis and will be made to work for 10 hours a week, not more. Addressing concerns of whether the civil wardens will be authorised to enforce, he said, “They will only help police personnel. They will not be given any lathis and will not be sole enforcers as well,” he clarified.

Responding to his tweet calling upon ‘physically fit and service minded residents of Bengaluru, both men and women, between the age of 18 and 45, to volunteer’ on Tuesday afternoon, nearly 500 people have already applied, in a span of a few hours, Mr. Rao said. Those interested to volunteer can apply on bcp.gov.in.

City goes into week-long lockdown

The city went into a week-long lockdown as shutters were downed and roads barricaded on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The lockdown will end at 5 a.m. on July 22.

The day also saw a rush at supermarkets and liquor stores, with people hoarding up supplies for the coming week. Liquor stores made brisk business on Monday and Tuesday, as they will be shut during the lockdown.

More stringent lockdown

Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao appealed to citizens to cooperate with the police to enforce a strict lockdown in the coming week, and warned that this lockdown would be more stringently enforced than the previous ones.

“During the last lockdown, there were 20 containment zones in the city. Now, there are nearly 2,000 containment zones. Citizens must understand the severity of the situations and cooperate,” he said adding the police will not issue any travel passes this time.

“Only those working in services that are permitted to operate can travel with their ID cards. Emergency travel will be allowed on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Pre-scheduled trains and flights will function as usual. Cabs will be available only for railway stations and Kempegowda International Airport, he said. Except for roads leading to these destinations, others will be barricaded, all flyovers and underpasses will be closed for traffic.

“Violators of lockdown norms will be strictly dealt with and booked under National Disaster Management Act, 2005,” he warned.

The Commissioner also said deadlines for commercial establishments will be strictly enforced in the city. “All shops and markets except pharmacies and hotel kitchens shall be closed at noon every day. Hotel kitchens and food delivery can operate till 8 p.m.,” he said.

KSRTC, BMTC

People continued to leave the city even on Tuesday, but officials said the number of vehicles going out of the city were lower than on Monday. The KSRTC operated 1,300 buses on Tuesday and over 26,000 people utilised the services.

The KSRTC has cancelled all services scheduled from Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts during the lockdown. In a release, the Corporation has said that those have booked tickets online will get the refund.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will operate only essential services during the lockdown. The Corporation will operate 134 buses for those carrying out essential services that include doctors, nurses, government employees, police and others.. Those who are travelling to railway stations and the Kempegowda International Airport must carry their ticket and an ID card. Students appearing for exams will also be allowed to travel.

Speaking to The Hindu, Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Rural P.N. Ravinda said, “Barring essential services, no other movements will be allowed. After the lockdown was announced, many people moved to their native place in Bengaluru Rural district. They should stay at home and break the chain of pandemic,” he said.

The DC himself had earlier tested positive for COVID-19. He has completely recovered after taking the required treatment.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 8:05:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/short-of-personnel-city-police-seek-volunteers/article32083494.ece

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