Night curfew in Delhi: DM offices prepare as scramble for e-passes begin
District magistrates across Delhi received at least 30,000 applications seeking exemptions from the city’s night curfew restrictions announced on Tuesday, said officials with knowledge of developments.
Having received the night curfew order just nine hours prior to its implementation, city authorities also started preparations to issue the necessary passes and coordinate efforts to enforce the curbs.
The city government on Tuesday clamped a curfew on movement and assembly of people between 10pm and 5am until April 30. Government officials, essential workers, those travelling to and from airports, railway stations, interstate bus terminals, Covid-19 vaccination centres or hospitals will be exempt from the seven-hour night curfew, according to the order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
The district magistrate of south zone called an emergency meeting of the district disaster management authority to fix responsibility for each stakeholder. “We have asked the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure that restaurants and other non-essential shops are shut by 10pm. The deputy commissioner of police (DCP) will ensure there is no movement or assembly of people during the curfew hours, except for those exempted,” said a senior district official, who did not wish to be named.
The south district received around 2,500 applications for e-passes, the official added.
Ramchandra Shingare, additional district magistrate (east) said police was asked to barricade roads to ensure restricted movement of traffic.
“We have asked Delhi Police for enhanced deployment of staff in the night to implement the curfew. The police will barricade the roads and ensure no movement of people, except the exempted categories, without e-pass,” Shingare said.
Sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) in all districts have been directed to be on the field from 9pm to midnight to monitor the situation, said officials with knowledge of developments. District magistrates have also ordered deployment of administration teams to assist the police. Also, the district control room will work round-the-clock at the DM’s office to monitor the curfew and issue e-passes, said officials in several districts.
The east district received around 1,500 applications for e-passes, of which 250 were rejected and around 180 were approved.
The New Delhi and the Southwest districts received at least 4,000 applications each.
A senior official in the New Delhi district said they cleared about 1,000 applications. “It is likely that the police will also soon start issuing these passes, then the pendency will reduce. It will also help to enforce the curfew better as verifying the applications individually takes time. A number of people have been assigned to handle e-pass applications,,” said the official.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the government was alert and keeping a “close watch” on the situation.
“The positivity rate yesterday was 5.54%, and around 65,000 tests were conducted. Orders were issued to escalate the number of beds in both private and Delhi government hospitals. Almost 5,000 beds are being added for Covid positive cases,” he told reporters.
Police said that it will strictly enforce the night curfew order and soon issue movement passes on demand to those eligible.
“Delhi Police will strictly enforce it except for the exempted categories mentioned in the order,” said Delhi police spokesperson Chinmoy Biswal.
Police had earlier issued movement passes to facilitate the movement of persons engaged in essential services and commodities, Biswal said.
“Fresh movement passes will be issued on demand. Those eligible can also visit Delhi Police website to apply for it. All field functionaries will be available to enforce the DDMA order and facilitate the exempted people,” he added.