AFTER imposing conditional curfew in Pune, the City Police on Tuesday ordered a two-day complete shutdown in areas under 10 police stations, which are coronavirus (COVID-19) hotspots and have low compliance of lockdown despite the curfew.
In these areas, among the essential items, only sale of milk for two hours will be allowed for Wednesday and Thursday. However, remaining parts of the city will be under conditional curfew with four-hour relaxation till April 27.
On the second day of conditional curfew in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, police observed better compliance of the lockdown. Police have attributed this to increased presence of personnel on ground and patrolling. However, they said crowding at shops during the relaxation window remained a concern.
Following notifications from the civic bodies in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, declaring their jurisdictions as containment zones on April 19, the police commissionerate in both urban limits had imposed conditional curfew from April 20 to April 27 allowing a specific time window during the day for the procurement of essential supplies.
In both these jurisdictions, some areas were already under conditional curfew after being earmarked as hotspots. In hotspot areas already under conditional curfew, the relaxation window was allowed between 10 am and noon. In areas, which came under curfew from April 20, the relaxation window is between 10 am and 2 pm.
Across the city, on Tuesday, police said there were some reports of crowding during the relaxation window, with more in areas with the two-hour window as compared to areas with four-hour window. In some new areas under curfew, shopkeepers even started the day by opening shops early after which police patrolling units had to order them to close the shops and stay open only between 10 am and 2 pm.
Pune Police Commissioner K Venkatesham said, “In some areas, we observed crowding in spite of imposing curfew. We have decided to completely shut down these areas for three days, except medical shops. We want to thank residents for their continuous support in our effort to break the chain. We urge people stay indoors.”
A notification about complete shutdown was issued by Joint Police Commissioner Ravindra Shisve late on Tuesday, imposing complete shutdown in following areas: Entire jurisdictions of Samarth, Khadak, Faraskhana and Kondhwa and part of jurisdictions of Swargate, Bundgarden, Dattawadi, Yerawada, Khadki and Wanawadi. In these areas, sale of milk will be allowed for two hours for Wednesday and Thursday between 10 am and 12 noon. Medical shops will be allowed to operate normally. Sale of grocery, fruits and vegetables, meat and operations of e-Commerse platforms will not allowed for these two days.
Officials said people will be allowed to leave their homes only for buying emergency medication. The orders will come into force from midnight of Wednesday and will remain in force till Friday midnight.
On Tuesday, Khadki Cantonment Board issued a separate notification demarcating its area of jurisdiction as a containment zone. Earlier on April 20, Dehu Road Cantonment Board also issued a similar order. Both these areas have been under curfew as per the orders of the Pimpri-Chinchwad police commissionerate.
Reports from specific areas
In densely populated localities of Shivajinagar and Ghokhale Nagar, areas such as Janwadi, Narveer Tanaji Wadi, Wadar Wadi, Irani Galli, the lockdown was observed completely with almost every shop except chemists’ remaining closed after noon as directed by the police.
Almost each bylane leading to essential areas and within them have been blocked by locals using wooden beams, vehicles or, if available, barricades.
Gokhale Nagar, under Chaturshringi police station, however, was full of people between 10 am and noon as buyers rushed to refill groceries and vegetables. “The people on the street are like that on a normal day because the window of allowance has shrunk. If you give just two hours, more people will come out at the same time,” said a provision store owner in Janwadi.
Police presence has increased in these areas since Monday with personnel guarding barricades created to ensure that vehicular traffic remains minimal.
In Sinhagad Road area, police presence was seen from early morning. They nabbed those on morning walk or those coming on the streets without valid reason and made them sit on the road while making them publicly admit that it was their mistake to not to follow the police orders.
Later, the police continued patrolling the area and forced vegetable vendors and grocery shop units, which opened in the morning to close saying they should keep it open strictly from 10 am to noon.
They further warned of action against those keeping the shops open after noon while personally ensuring all were closed.
Citizens were trying hard to get basic items within the allowed time. However, the early morning milk supply remained unaffected while there was no delivery of newspaper as per the government direction. There was no supply of vegetables to the vendors and they continued to sell the leftover of the previous day.
In Pashan Sus Road area, many residential societies barricaded their entry gates and even their own residents were asked to record the purpose of their going out, every time leaving the premises. Increased frequency of police patrolling cars was also observed in these areas with police teams making announcement of curfew on public address system.
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