As lockdown restrictions ease in Ludhiana, so does police action
The tapering coronavirus curve seems to have lulled the district police into a dangerous sense of complacency so much so that no lockdown violations have been registered against defaulters since June 7, which was when the government had eased curbs after a period of strict lockdown.
That no lockdown violations took place after shops were allowed to operate till 6pm on weekdays beggars belief, especially as a large number of people can be seen roaming without masks in markets! While police can be seen issuing challans to those venturing out without a mask, there has been a marked decline in the number of challans issued.
Police had lodged 208 FIRs against shopkeepers for keeping their shops open after permissible hours between May 10 and June 6 and had issued 9,200 challans to those caught without a face mask in the same period.
Shopkeepers, who have suffered extensive losses due to the coronavirus curfew, continue to clandestinely operate after curfew comes into effect to earn a few extra bucks. Partially open shops can be seen during the Sunday lockdown. To evade penalty, they post an aide outside the shop who lets in customers after raising the shutter and keeps a look out for cops. Violations remain rampant, especially in Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi, Jawahar Nagar Camp, Model Town and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.
The police’s leniency appears to be directly proportional to the ease in curbs. They had manned the city like fortress till May 26, after which they started giving a little leeway after shops were allowed to open till 3pm. This is evidenced from the 46 FIRs registered between May 26 to June 6 (12 days) against the 161 FIRs registered between May 10 to May 25 (16 days).
With the situation normalising, Jagjit Singh, an eatery owner, says, “Though permitting home delivery has brought relief to our business, the government should also allow dine-in option.”
Commissioner of police Rakesh Agrawal says the police are not allowing shops and eateries to operate after permissible hours. “We make sure all shops close at 6pm,” he said.
Virus claims three, 112 more test +ve
There are now 1,415 active patients in the district. The victims were a 79-year-old man of Saya Kalan and two women, aged 64 and 62, of Shamgarh and Sudhar, respectively.
The district’s Covid tally stands at 86,265, while the death toll has touched 2,063.