Chennai

Chennai police intensify lockdown, vehicles pile up on arterial roads

Chaos on Anna Salai as the police installed barricades to check e-passes   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city, the Chennai police have intensified the lockdown by blocking vehicles en masse to check e-registration passes and allowing only essential workers.

On Monday, the city police said e-registration would be required to move from one police station limits to another, even in the permitted time from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. To tighten restrictions further, they established vehicle check points on the borders in 13 places of 12 police districts in the city.

Barricades were put up on the borders of each police station limits as well to prevent people moving from one place to another. Over 135 police stations have been divided sector-wise.

As many as 348 sectors were cordoned off with barricades on the roads to prevent the movement of the public.

On Tuesday morning, law and order and traffic personnel suddenly stopped all vehicles plying on Anna Salai by placing iron barricades. Traffic went out of gear and motorists were agitated. Police allowed the vehicles only after ascertaining the purpose of movement. Similar scenes were witnessed in several parts of the city.

The motorists were a disgruntled lot. S. Ramachandran, of K.K. Nagar, said, “Most of the motorists on arterial roads like Anna Salai are either travelling for emergency or essential purposes. The police should have implemented it after giving some time. I was supposed to reach the Government Hospital at Omandurar Government Estate to deliver food to my relative. But I was stranded for more than half an hour.”

The road was opened for traffic after many motorists gathered and honked in agitation.

Documents checked

Police randomly verified whether the motorists had e-registration or other documents supporting emergency or essential purpose. Again the police closed the road for traffic, which resulted in a chaotic situation. Heated arguments ensued between motorists and police personnel who were on duty in other places as well.

A senior journalist, who lives in Royapettah, was stopped near the Royapettah signal by the police personnel. He said, “Despite explaining, they did not listen. I had to leave my vehicle and reach my office in Thousand Lights by foot.”

“It is high-handedness of the police in impounding my vehicle when I went to buy from a store located 200 m away from my house. I had to wait two-and-a-half hours at the police station to get my vehicle released,” said Ramesh Daga, a retired corporate executive.

A senior police officer said, “Around 50% of motorists have e-registration while the remaining do not have it. We stop all and verify the records. If they do not have e-registration or have no valid reason, we immediately impound the vehicles, besides booking cases against them.”

Additional Commissioner of Police N. Kannan said, “All restrictions were announced duly before the implementation. In fact, we were conducting campaigns continuously, asking the public not to venture out of their homes without any reason and insisting that they should move only for emergency purposes on roads.”

Police found that many motorists were moving with fake ‘press’, ‘hospital’ and ‘advocate’ stickers on their vehicles. At Spencer’s signal, a political party functionary was found using a sticker of a leading hospital and a milk vendor was using an ‘advocate’ sticker. Police seized 4,107 vehicles from motorists without e-registration.

Intensive vehicle checking was also done in border areas of the city, such as Poonamallee, Mangadu, Kundrathur, Ambattur, Avadi, Tambaram, Vandalur and Tiruporur. Over 150 vehicle checking points were established, connecting all important junctions and covering all police limits of the city.

Personnel were deployed on 205 two-wheelers and 309 four-wheelers and beat patrolling vehicles of police stations were stationed at important points in each police station limits.

Exempted services

Later in the day, the city police clarified that doctors, health staff, mediapersons, essential service providers, secretariat staff, staff of foreign missions and advocates would be permitted to proceed on the roads on production of their identity cards at vehicle checking points. They need not have to have the mandatory e-registration to move from one place to another.

This clarification came following complaints that doctors, health staff, mediapersons were prevented at several places on Tuesday for want of e-registration. Separate lane has been created on the arterial roads for movement of essential service vehicles and ambulance vehicles, the police said.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 1:13:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-police-intensify-lockdown-vehicles-pile-up-on-arterial-roads/article34585918.ece

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