Devbrat Patnaik
  • 14 districts in Odisha under lockdown, but no significant impact. 
  • Many arrested for violating lockdown rules. 
  • If anyone doesn’t comply with the orders, authorities may press IPC charges u/s 188, 269, 270, 271.

Bhubaneswar: India so far has registered over 470 positive coronavirus cases. A complete lockdown was announced in 19 States and UTs on Sunday, while 6 States and UTs have declared a near-total lockdown. In Odisha too, it has been more than 36 hours since government imposed a curfew in its key districts, but seems people are still unable to come to terms with the severity of the pandemic.

Not a single soul was seen during the self-imposed ‘Janta curfew’ yesterday, as markets, streets and highways remained deserted. Contrasting pictures came to the fore Monday morning when thousands stepped out of their homes, despite the fact that lockdown has been enforced till 29th of March. By doing so, not only did they violate the COVID-19 lockdown guidelines but also amplified chances of getting infected with the lethal virus.

Smart city Bhubaneswar too didn’t look smart enough as denizens hit the roads which subsequently led to chock-a-block at many spots. Restrictions however got sterner as day progressed.

Odisha first imposed lockdown in the districts of Khurda, Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Angul, along with towns of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Bhadrak, Puri, Jajpur Road, Jajpur Town and Rourkela. With the crisis deepening, today the lockdown was extended to nine more districts - Puri, Nayagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Dhenkanal.

But is the ground staff ready?

Despite police and district administrations spreading so much awareness on COVID-19 apart from enforcing regulations for strict adherence to social-distancing norms amid lockdown, several markets which were open witnessed huge rush as people in large numbers thronged to buy essential food items.

Take a look at visuals from Golabazar in Sambalpur and Chhatra Bazar in Cuttack:

The usual hustle and bustle of the Puri Bada Danda (Grand Road) which all-year-round is love for devotees, suddenly looked scary today as all seemed not-bothered by the pandemic situation and violated the lockdown orders by Odisha government.

Frequent appeals by the government to public to keep away from crowded places and minimise non-essential travel as much as possible fell on deaf ears, as people were seen waiting in large numbers at bus stand in Balasore.

Centre orders States to take 'legal action' against the violators

The Cabinet Secretary has reportedly written to State Chief Secretaries highlighting four key things amid lockdown and has ordered to take legal action against the violators.

  • States must monitor situation 24x7
  • Additional restrictions if necessary may be imposed
  • All current restrictions must be enforced strongly
  • All violations should be met with legal action

Speaking on the lockdown, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi lambasted the violators calling them enemies of the nation. “You are not fooling police, you are fooling yourselves. You are not only the enemy of police, but also of the whole nation for putting lives at danger.”

Earlier today, Bhadrak Police arrested a cement dealer of Gabasahi area on charges of violating the lockdown imposed to contain spread of coronavirus. Reportedly, four more were arrested along with him for opening shops this morning despite the lockdown.

In Phulbani too, as many as 11 persons have been arrested for violating the guidelines of lockdown.

Beware! You Will Be Booked Under These IPC Sections For Violation

Now that the lockdown has been implemented strictly, the authorities have warned that those who do not comply with the regulatory orders with regard to curbing COVID-19, local police can book individuals under the following sections of Indian Penal Code.

1. Sec 188 IPC: Violation of order promulgated by Government. The offence is cognizable and bailable.

2. Sec 269 IPC: Negligently doing any act which is likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life. A violator will be awarded imprisonment for six months or fine, or both. This is a cognizable offence and bailable.

3. Sec 270 IPC: Malignantly doing any act which is likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life. Such violators will get imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both. The offence is cognizable and bailable.

4. Sec 271 IPC: Intentionally disobeying any quarantine rule. The violator will be awarded imprisonment up to six months or fine, or both. Such an offence is on-cognizable.

Here's how lockdown & social distancing norms were thrown to wind amid the COVID-19 outbreak.