Drones to markings on roads: Cops enforce social distancingUpdated: Mar 25, 2020 23:38 IST
Drone surveys, markings on roads leading to shops and community policing – these are some of the measures taken by Mumbai Police to ensure people stay off the roads and those rushing to buy essential commodities practise social distancing.
“Three drones are being used for crowd monitoring,” said Pranaya Ashok, deputy commissioner of police (operations) and spokesperson for Mumbai police. “The drones are audio enabled and are being used to make announcements on social distancing. The markings have been made to ensure safety of citizens who are out to buy essential commodities.”
The top brass of the city police had a meeting after PM’s Tuesday night speech and the decision to get the queues to discipline was taken and implemented overnight, said sources. All zonal deputy commissioners of police (DCP) have been asked to supervise the task, said a senior police officer.
“Our teams are present in market areas and are asking people to stand in queues, while maintaining a distance of four feet. We have also asked vendors to cooperate. Public announcements are being made to ensure social distancing. We have not lodged any FIR so far,” said George Fernandes, senior inspector, Malad police station.
Motiram Chaudhary, 40, owner of Balaji super market in Andheri Marol pump house area, said, “Police gave us this idea. We are following it.” Ramesh Shirke, a Jogeshwari resident who was in queue, said, “It is a good move.”
Mohankumar Dahikar, DCP, zone 11, said, “Locals are cooperating. Not only us, even small grocery shops are making announcements to ensure social distancing.”
Ashok said the city police was also coordinating with e-commerce platforms and supermarkets to ensure their home delivery services of essential commodities are not hit. “We are in talks with them and are trying to come out with some plan,” said a senior police officer.
In the slums of Shivaji Nagar and Govandi, the police have roped in religious leaders to make announcements to ask people to take precautionary measures. “We requested the maulanas to help us. There are 69 such mosques in Shivaji Nagar alone,” said Sudarshan Paithankar, senior inspector, Shivaji Nagar police station. “The problem is the houses are too small to accommodate all. In some families, 15 members stay in a room, which forces some of them to venture out,” said an officer from the region.
In Dongri, police are extensively using WhatsApp to stay in touch with citizens.
Sandip Bhagdikar, senior inspector at Dongri police station, said, “We have different Whatsapp groups of alert citizens and locals. As soon as any panic situation arises, we send messages on groups asking people to stay at home and inform them that all grocery, milk and medical shops will be kept open. We also make regular announcements to convey the needful.”