Streets wore a deserted look, commercial establishments were shut, and public and private vehicles remained off the roads as the West Bengal government imposed a strict bi-weekly lockdown across the state on Saturday amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
In Kolkata, police were seen manning all major crossings, checking lanes and bylanes for any unnecessary movement. The few who dared to step out without a valid reason were forced to return after a baton charge or chase by the men in uniform. Police personnel were seen carrying out awareness drives with loudspeakers in congested areas such as Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas.
Kolkata police said that till noon, 204 people were arrested for violation of lockdown, 182 booked for not wearing a mask and 20 faced action for spitting in public.
There was no activity at the Kolkata and Bagdogra airports as the Airports Authority of India suspended all flights for the lockdown after a request from the state government. They will be suspended again when the lockdown is imposed next week on Wednesday.
“We arrived from Bangalore last night. We have a connecting flight to Assam tomorrow morning. Today nothing is flying in or out. We have to spend the night here,” said Masuk Ahmed (21), a resident of Assam who was among a dozen people who were stranded near the NSC Bose airport in Kolkata. “We have ordered food and will have to find some place to sleep at night.”
Public and private offices were closed and several trains at Howrah and Sealdah stations were also cancelled.
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