Chennai

Roads deserted as people stay indoors

Police personal check the vehicles on Kamarajar Salai, Chennai.   | Photo Credit: S.R. Raghunathan

With the fortnight-long lockdown in place, city roads saw lesser traffic and commercial establishments in Anna Salai, Broadway, T. Nagar and Purasawalkam remained closed as people stayed in.

More than 35 flyovers were closed and unnecessary traffic movement blocked on roads. City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal issued instructions to be followed by police personnel during the implementation of the lockdown.

Personnel were deployed at points of interest for bandobust, including at Amma Canteens and fair price shops. Additional personnel were deployed at the Koyambedu and Kasimedu market areas.

Police warned that legal action would be taken against those found not wearing face masks and flouting physical distancing norms. Legal action would be initiated by the traffic police against motorists roaming around unnecessarily.

Over 10,000 police personnel were deployed for bandobust duty. Vehicle checks were being conducted at nearly 320 places, and about 360 patrol vehicles were doing the rounds.

“Police personnel should be polite while enforcing the lockdown, and at no cost should external force be used. Use of lathi by personnel of any rank is strictly prohibited during the enforcement of the lockdown, except in case of self-defence,” Mr. Jiwal said.

In a set of instructions, he said personnel should wear masks and also carry hand sanitisers with them (100 ml sanitiser will be provided by the headquarters). Personnel on duty should ensure that essential commodities, including medicines, vegetables, milk and provisions, were transported without any hindrance.

Police personnel were advised to use public address systems to sensitise people on physical distancing and wearing of masks. They should also brief them about the number of cases reported in the city each day.

Assistant Commissioners were told to conduct meetings with representatives of shops and businesses to ascertain that physical distancing rules were followed. Shopkeepers were also told not to entertain people without masks and to not allow more than 50% of customers at a time. They should also ensure the closure of shops at 12 p.m. and render all cooperation to the police for the successful implementation of the lockdown.

Drones could be used to monitor long open stretches, such as beaches, effectively. The movement of oxygen cylinders should be facilitated by both traffic and local police personnel. Vehicle checking should be organised so that those carrying essential commodities were not held up at any cost. For this purpose a separate lane system could be used, the City Police Commissioner said.

The instructions also said that the traffic/local police should avoid physical contact with individuals violating traffic rules. Photographs of the vehicle in violation should be taken for documentation and for registering a case, and seized vehicles should be released as early as possible. Deputy Commissioners, Joint Commissioners and Additional Commissioners should stagger timings in a way that adequate presence of senior officers in the field was felt.

Help desk launched

The police have started a round-the-clock help desk for 14 days, commencing from Monday, to render assistance to the public during the lockdown.

The help desk will assist residents who require clarification regarding the lockdown mechanism. Residents can call the following numbers for assistance — 94981 81236 and 94981 81239.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 3:55:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/lockdown-begins-chennai-roads-deserted-as-residents-stay-indoors/article34525826.ece

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