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Odisha Fights Corona: State Drowns In Emptiness Amid Lockdown

Bhubaneswar: These are unprecedented times and nothing bears clear testimony than the empty streets and the once-bustling cities which have become eerie manifestations of ghost towns.

Shops and establishments are locked down and very few people are coming out of their homes to purchase daily supplies. Roads have been dug to erect barricades and police are manning the once-busy-now –barren streets to prevent any lapses in the lockdown in view of the Coronavirus spread. Police sirens bleating through the silence are becoming a regular affair as patrolling vans are ensuring that everyone is behind doors.

With reports of people violating lockdown, police is resorting to exemplary punishments to ensure the message is loud, clear and far-reaching. In Baliguda area of Kandhamal district, police apprehended some persons who were found to be violating the lockdown and made them stand with placards that read – ‘I am a selfish person, who is risking lives of many for which I am not even feeling guilty.’

On the other hand, people themselves are taking up the cudgels to spread awareness about the coronavirus and social distancing. Without waiting for the administration, people in Patharagadia village on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar have launched awareness drives to sensitise others. Even the administration is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they reach out to every possible person with the right message. A vegetable market in Malkangiri witnessed rush today morning forcing the administration to sensitise people about the necessity of social distancing to stave off coronavirus spread. Similarly in Chhatrabazaar are of Cuttack, heavy rush was witnessed at markets, as people in large numbers turned up to buy vegetables after PM Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. This forced the administration to intervene and disperse people.

In Kendrapara town, the lockdown has forced people to stay behind doors and those coming outside to purchase daily supplies are abandoning their vehicles.

“There are about 300 people living in our colony and we have asked everyone to stay indoors and not venture out unless it is absolutely important. If we don’t become careful in these 21 days, we will end up paying a heavy price,” said a Kendrapara resident.

In Nuapada, the district police are ensuring that the bonded labourers returning from outside the state are properly screened.

Odisha Police has been taking stern action against violators of lockdown guidelines and several persons have been booked.

While Burla Police in Sambalpur arrested one person for violating guidelines during lockdown, another person was arrested for flouting the home quarantine norms. Moreover, 4 persons found roaming in Sambalpur town on two-wheelers were booked and their vehicles have been seized.

In Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna Town Police arrested one tea seller & another mask seller for violating the COVID19 guidelines. Another person was arrested for spreading rumour on COVID19 on WhatsApp platform in Bhawanipatna town.

In Kandhamal, a driver was arrested by K Nuagaon Police for violating the guidelines. Moreover, Tikabali Police Station in Kandhamal district has registered cases against six shopkeepers for selling non-essential items during lockdown period and violating govt guidelines. The Model Police Station in the district arrested 11 persons for opening non-essential shops in Phulbani Town during lockdown. In another case, Gochhapada police station in Kandhamal district arrested one groom and his brother for conducting a marriage ceremony in deviation with the lockdown guidelines. Under the Sadar Police limits area of the district, a case was registered against a fast food shop owner for violating Govt. guidelines on COVID19.

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