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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: A day after declaring its Covid-19 plan, the State government on Tuesday brought the whole of the State under lockdown.  The speed of bringing the whole state under lockdown was quite swift -  within 72 hours of phase -1 lockdown.

What next? The way the State government has been announcing a series of interventions to tackle Covid-19 in Odisha very well indicates that soon, the State may clamp curfew in few high-risk towns in the State.

As per highly placed sources, the spadework has been done. The State government will soon ask all office-goers and service provider under essential services Act to soon collect the curfew passes. Working journalists will be exempted from curfew pass, sources added. 

With the Naveen-led government having taken integrated interventions to tackle the evolving Covid-19 situation, sources say, government may also clamp Sec 144 in hinterland of vulnerable districts.

As per reports, it has come to the government notice that youths are assembling in group in cities and villages in high-risk districts. In order to maintain the sanctity of social distance guidelines and norms issued by Odisha government, there is a buzz doing rounds in the power corridors about likely imposition of Section 144 soon in some places.

What is Sec 144? As per the Criminal Procedure Code in India, any government can invoke Sec 144 when it feels there is danger to human life, health and safety. This Section not only bars people’s movement, it also prohibits assembling of four or more people in an area.

It needs mention here that State government while announcing lockdown in the State, has notified prohibition of assembling of 7 people in any area. Since the guidelines were not adhered to properly, sources say the State government is mulling to bring places having high home-quarantine count, under sec 144.

What is curfew? In curfew, people will be asked to stay indoors. All, except essential services, will be suspended. In order to enforce lockdown or say community quarantine, the State government is considering imposition of  day-time curfew in some high risk cities and towns, sources informed.

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