Police deployed in strength to keep beach visitors away

Pushed to pavement: Morning walkers had to take a stroll on the pavements along Marina as the State government closed the beach on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: RAGU R

With the government banning entry of people to beaches in Chennai, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur districts on weekends and public holidays to control the spread of COVID-19, policemen have been deployed in large numbers to enforce the rule.

While the beaches were deserted on Sunday, there has been mixed response from regular walkers and vendors to the ban.

The beaches became out of bounds for the public when the lockdown was announced in March 2020. After eight months, they were reopened in December 2020. However as the State, especially the city, has seen a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, the government closed the beaches for public on weekends and public holidays.

On Sunday morning, when the order came into force, policemen were deployed in large numbers and the multiple entries into the service road along the Marina beach were blocked using barricades. “We have installed 30 temporary cameras in the service road to monitor people on the beach. A mounted platoon will patrol the area,” said V. Balakrishnan, Joint Commissioner of Police, East.

‘Lack of planning’

K. Rudraksh, a regular walker, said that though the move was welcome, it should be properly planned. “They have prevented entry into the service road but the crowd has started walking on the platform. This is dangerous and can spread the COVID-19 fast. They can allow people to walk on the sand during the mornings alone,” he said.

There are over 1,800 vendors on the beach and many of them are fishermen. Desappa, who runs a bajji stall on the beach, said his business would be hit. But he was not complaining as it was in public interest. “On weekends, I earn around ₹3,000. On Saturday, I purchased vegetables to make the bajjis, but now they will go waste,” he lamented.

Similarly, the police had been deployed on beaches in Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. “In Mahabalipuram and Kovalam, we have deployed around 60 policemen to prevent entry of public. Highway patrol is being used to ensure compliance,” said E. Sundaravathanam, Superintendent of Police, Chengalpattu.

P. Aravindhan, Superintendent of Police, Tiruvallur, said that 20 policemen had been deployed to prevent entry of people into Pulicat beach. “Not many people visit this beach. However, we have blocked all entry roads,” he said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 7:21:34 AM |

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