THE first day of the 10-day lockdown in Pune led to a repeat of scenes witnessed during the earlier nationwide lockdown imposed in March: deserted roads, multiple police checkpoints and scant traffic.
Apart from milk vendors and pharmacy shops, no shops were allowed to open throughout the day. Police had erected road blockades and set up check-points across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to ensure that those who were out on the streets had a solid reason to leave their home.
Since residents were informed about the lockdown three days in advance, most city residents had stocked up on essentials. Students and working professionals from other districts and rural parts of Pune district had also left for their hometowns.
While significant reduction in the movement of vehicles and people was observed, officials stressed on the need of continued enforcement to ensure better compliance over coming days. “We have observed significant reduction in traffic and movement of people on the roads. Having said this, our enforcement will continue in the coming days,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) for Pune City, Sanjay Shinde.
Avanti Dhaigude, a resident of Kutwal colony, Lohegaon, said her area had been under strict lockdown after new cases were detected a few days earlier. “During the unlock phases, there was a wedding in the area, after which some cases surfaced. Since then, people have been more careful. The number of people who go out for evening walks or on two-wheelers has also reduced,” she said.
Dhaigude said while there were a few residents who were casual with precautionary norms, most of the people abided by the rules and only went out for essentials.
Along the old Mumbai – Pune highway, traffic remained slim as most people refrained from going outdoors. Roads wore a deserted look during peak office hours, with only workers in the industrial belt of Chakan seen commuting to work.
Aishwarya Bhoji, a resident of NIBM, said that while dairies have been allowed to stay open, people had stocked up on supplies. She also said that though people wore masks, social distancing was still being followed in a “relaxed manner”.
Rajshree Suresh, a resident of Shankar Seth Road, said of all the lockdowns implemented so far, this one seemed to be the most successful. “… This time, people had time to stock up on basic essentials. Additionally, I think that this lockdown has made people realise that the matter is serious, as new cases are coming up every day. People are not going out at all. The police make rounds in our area three times a day and if they find someone not adhering to the rules, they point it out,” she said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Bachchan Singh said, “In view of the lockdown imposed from Tuesday, Pune City Police has put up 103 checkpoints across the city. The number of checkpoints during night hours is 55. People should avoid unnecessary movement and follow the guidelines given in the PMC order. Even though HR heads of companies or industries have been empowered to give passes, people misusing the provisions of passes will be dealt with as per law.”
On Tuesday, Pune City Police registered 253 cases under IPC Section 188 for violation of lockdown and seized 236 vehicles. Notices were served to 73 people and 31 persons were booked for not wearing masks in public places.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Sudhir Hiremath said, “We observed significant compliance to the lockdown and we believe that continued enforcement will further improve the compliance.”
In Pimpri-Chinchwad police jurisdiction, over 80 checkpoints have been set up and joint teams of local police and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation staffers have been deployed in the form of mobile squads.
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