From prosecution to Gandhigiri, cops tried out everything to raise awareness about social distancing to stop the spread of virus. While 111 people were booked for not wearing masks during the first half of the day, cops from all nine divisions and 25 traffic guards distributed around 25,000 masks among commuters without them as the day progressed.
In the night, special drives were undertaken from 9pm. Those travelling after that period were issued notices and asked to explain the reason for being on the road.
On Tuesday morning, Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma sent a text message to officers in charge of all police stations and traffic guards in the city to continue with the awareness drive and distribute masks to people. “Police personnel on duty should request people not covering their faces to do so. If we constantly keep on pointing out this to the public, slowly awareness will rise which will be beneficial for all of us. If you have disposable masks to spare, please distribute some to people as a goodwill gesture. Regular miking for covering of faces and social distancing needs to be done,” the message read.
Following the commissioner’s plea, cops set out on Tuesday and stopped buses, offloaded all travelling without masks and requested to them to abide by Covid rules. “For the time being, we have provided masks to such passengers. This will continue from Wednesday. We have challaned 111 people for not wearing masks even when they were carrying them,” said an officer from Lalbazar. Each traffic guard distributed close to 800-1,000 masks each.
Cops refrained from booking a large number of offenders as people kept on complaining about the immense heat and non-availability of transport, which forced them to wait in the sun for long. “We continued to persuade them to wear masks and adjust moving around with it all the time,” said a traffic sergeant at Burrabazar.
At the Jorabagan and Howrah Bridge traffic guards, cops faced a hard time trying to move the crowd from the gates of buses. “Several buses and minibuses have begun operations on Tuesday. But the fact that several travelled without masks and crowded the doors kept us worried. We have also found that the manner in which people were getting on and off buses was violating social distancing norms. Hence, we have instructed the drivers to halt at major stoppages for longer durations so that people can at least get off maintaining social norms. For those boarding the buses, we are mulling deploying a constable at bus stands,” said an officer.
At Ruby Crossing and near the Durgapur Bridge-Tollygunge Circular Road crossing, two buses on routes C-24 and S-22 were stopped and passengers offloaded. “We got some people to board private buses which remained less crowded. We did hear conductors say that despite their requests, people continued boarding the bus. We told the passengers that though they were travelling for work, there were certain issues that cannot be compromised,” said an officer from New Alipore police.
Police sources said that they have also decided to deploy their men at all termini during peak hours. “They will ensure that a few seats are empty when the bus starts the journey. Otherwise, those in the waiting for a bus will be left in the lurch,” said an officer from Jadavpur traffic guard.
Source: Times of India