Day 1 of lockdown fails to keep people indoors - Hindustan Times

Day 1 of lockdown fails to keep people indoors

ByShafaque Alam and Tanmayee Tyagi
Mar 23, 2020 11:27 PM IST

Noida: A day after the success of ‘janta curfew’, the Gautam Budh Nagar lockdown on Monday failed to keep people inside their houses in the district. District administration officials and resident bodies said that lack of awareness and helplessness were the main reasons behind it.

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Movement of pedestrians and vehicles was seen in almost all parts of Noida. Commuters were seen around Pari Chowk, at Yamuna expressway, and several bus stations where the police urged people to stay indoors.

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Some domestic helps and daily wage earners said that they were unaware about the shutdown. “We knew that we had to stay in on Sunday. But no one told us that we were supposed to stay in today as well,” said Rita, a domestic help from Sarfabad who works in Sector 70.

Traffic chaos was seen at almost all entry-exit points on Noida border where cops were allowing essential service providers to pass through after checking their identity cards. But the process was time consuming, leading to snarls.

Resident bodies have condemned the violations of the lockdown by public.

“Many people are making various excuses to move about violating the lockdown. They are not understanding why it is so important to stay indoors. In the high-rises, we are trying to implement a thorough lockdown. The district administration will have to step up to deal with the situation,” said Rajiva Singh, president, Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Associations.

Police officials said that excuses of the people ranged from unwell relatives to going back home.

“They said they were with friends and have to go back now. It becomes difficult to deal with each individual though we are trying our best to make people aware about the importance of staying in. Though no action was taken against violators today, we are prepared to go through a legal recourse if the situation arises,” said Sankalp Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, Noida.

Any person violating lockdown regulations may be booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. The police can use powers granted under the Epidemic Act, 1897, officials said.

Confusion also surrounded as to what constituted essential services. Media persons were earlier not allowed to move. Only after orders came from senior officers later in the day was their movement allowed.

Operations were also going on at several manufacturing units across the city.

“We manufacture basic packaging material for essential commodities like milk, rice, sanitizers, etc., making us an essential service provider. We are working at a reduced employee strength,” said Dinesh Jain, president (legal and corporate affairs), Uflex, a major plastic packaging manufacturer located in Noida.

The Noida Entrepreneurship Association (NEA), an entrepreneurs’ body having 1,500 members, also expressed that the lockdown was not satisfactory.

Sudhir Shrivastava, NEA vice-president , said that his association issued an advisory and shut all the factories in its network due to lockdown. “On Monday, we found that a number of people were on the roads, violating the lockdown. The police and administration should take strict action against people venturing out without a valid reason. The violation beats the idea of lockdown. If this continues, it will be difficult to break the Coronavirus chain,” he said.

Meanwhile, police officials, who are determined to enforce the lockdown, have requested people to donate for those who are worst affected due to the spread of Covid-19 disease.

“Some people are ready to risk their health for their daily earnings. There is an economic setback. Keeping that in mind, I have requested that a forum be made where one can donate to help out such people,” said sub-inspector Anup Kumar Singh, posted at the Alpha 1 police post under whose jurisdiction a positive case was reported earlier this week.

Jewar MLA Thakur Dhirendra Singh said that he will also donate to help fight the deadly virus. “This is a serious disease and we need to fight with all might. I have decided to donate my four months’ salary. Some people have also expressed to extend help. We will collect the money and send it to the government,” he said.

Despite the lockdown on Monday, several residents of Noida once again came out in their balconies at 5 pm and said thanks to the medical personnel, administrative workers and other emergency service providers by clapping and clanging dishes.

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