March 24, 2021 8:17:51 am
With district administrations in Punjab struggling to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour among public, at least two districts – Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur – have adopted a unique way to teach a lesson to those caught without a mask.
For the past three days in Hoshiarpur, police vans have been picking up those caught not wearing masks and taking them the Civil Hospital for testing. Meanwhile in Kapurthala, police teams travel along with sample collection teams from the local Civil Hospital that take spot samples for Covid testing after someone is caught without a mask.
Hoshiarpur police said that in the past three days over 3,000 people have been take to the Civil Hospital for Covid testing – both rapid and RT-PCR — and dropped back.
The violators are caught at various nakas being set up across the district by police.
DSP (crime against women), Hoshiarpur, Madhvi Sharma, who has been tasked by the SSP to look after this drive told The Indian Express that the move started on Sunday. She said that 700 people were tested on Sunday, 1,600 on Monday and 1,100 on Tuesday.
Police vehicles carry the violators to civil hospital, police lines hospital and a mobile health team also stays deployed with police. “We have made proper seating arrangements in the buses/vehicles while following social distancing,” she added.
Police are not imposing any fine on the poor rather they are giving them masks to wear free of cost but those who can afford to buy masks are being tested for Covid and fined as well.
Police teams have also been visiting crowed marketplaces, areas with high labour density to ensure compliance.
Around 200 hawkers and vendors from the Sabji Mandi area were selling vegetables without wearing masks and have been pulled up.
SSP, Hoshiarpur, Navjot Singh Mahal, informed that they have been appealing the masses to wear masks and maintaining social distancing but the advice was falling on deaf ears which made them kick start drive.
“With this move now the area from where we had picked up people without masks in the first two days, very less number of people are being spotted without masks. The message of a trip to the civil hospital has reached the people, and they are now wearing masks,” the SSP said.
In Kapurthala district, police have also started a similar drive with police teams along with sample collection teams from the Civil Hospital catching those without mask and subjecting them to spot testing.
SSP, Kapurthala, Kanwardeep Kaur, said that 772 RT-PCR have been conducted in the past few days by the sampling teams assigned with the police teams.
Meanwhile, the Doaba region, which has four districts out of total 22 districts of Punjab, has 35 per cent active cases of Covid-19 and 26 per cent of the total deaths of the state. Also the region has reported 25 per cent of the total confirmed cases of the state so far till March 22.
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