Brazen disregard for safety norms marks the 1st day of lockdown in West Bengal
The first 24 hours of lockdown in containment zones of West Bengal reflected lack of respect for safety norms prescribed for protection against the spread of the deadly virus.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 23:12 IST
Rampant violation of social distancing norms was witnessed and wearing of masks almost took a back seat in large parts of Kolkata and its adjoining districts, even as the police tried to enforce restrictions in at least 25 containment zones on the first day of the week-long lockdown in West Bengal.
Covid-19 cases in the state jumped by more than 12,000 in the last three weeks to reach 24,833 on July 9, forcing the Mamata Banerjee government to impose lockdown in more than 230 containment zones across the state. Kolkata has 25 such zones. The cases have climbed further to 27,109 as on Friday.
On the first day of the lockdown, which started around 5 pm on Thursday, the city police put up barricades and guard rails to restrict the entry and exit of people in the containment zones. Policemen and volunteers were deployed to man the barricades. Shops were also closed while sanitization was being done simultaneously in the containment zones.
“We have stopped quite a few people from going out and coming in through the barricades. In case someone needs anything they are being asked to contact the police helpline. Announcements were made on microphones requesting people to stay indoors. Those who came out without masks were sent back home,” said a senior police official.
Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma was also seen visiting some of the containment zones to take stock of the situation.
“Such a lockdown is welcome as the disease is spreading. But the police and administration can’t do anything if the citizens do not follow the norms. They need to be more responsible,” said Kakoli Sen, a resident of Chakraberia Road in south Kolkata which has been declared a containment zone.
The scenario was just the opposite outside the containment zones in the city and in large parts of the state on Friday. Many people hit the streets with face masks in their pockets or dangling near their neck. Markets were crowded with shops and shoppers hardly maintaining any social distancing norms. Political protests and rallies for various reasons were also organised without following any norms.
At Salkia in Howrah, it was business as usual in the local market. People could be seen violating social distancing norms and many were not wearing masks.
“I went out to buy some chillies and coriander. It was not necessary though. I just wanted to go out,” said 54-year-old Shyamal Deb, a resident of Jeliapara Lane at Salkia in Howrah.
A top official in the state government said the lockdown was enforced strictly in all containment zones.