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Vikash Sharma

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The Commissionerate Police on Sunday arrested five staff of two bars in Bhubaneswar for allegedly violating Covid-19 guidelines and operating businesses beyond the stipulated hours under the existing night curfew restrictions imposed by the Odisha government.

Moreover, senior officials of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), including the Zonal Deputy Commissioner Anshuman Rath, were stuck inside an elevator as the staff of one of the bars allegedly snapped the power supply during the raid.

The BMC officials were stuck inside the lift for around 30 to 40 minutes. The incident has raised eyebrows and at the same time concerns over the safety of enforcement officials during such raids.

Rath informed that the joint enforcement squad had raided several bars in different parts of the city on Saturday night. “When we tried to enter the bar in the lift, the staff snapped the power supply. We got detained inside the elevator for nearly 40 minutes. Our teams found crowd at the bar even after 10 pm. The squad members were misbehaved during the raid,” said Rath.

Rath said that only after the bar staff requested to evacuate the guests at the bar through lift, the power supply was restored at around 11:05 pm.

“As there were some children and a pregnant woman in the bar, we did not slapped any fine for violating Covid-19 norms. We have registered a police complaint at Chandrasekharpur police station,” he said.

The BMC official said that there were no fire safety measures at both the bars and appropriate steps will be taken in this regard.

“It is unfortunate that some of us were detained during the raid. Situation would had been worse if the pregnant women or others wound have been stuck in the lift. The incident will not act as a deterrent as we have decided to intensify such raids in the coming days. We will ensure that there is adequate deployment of police force during such enforcement activities,” Rath added.

It is pertinent to mention here that four bars were sealed by the BMC for violating Covid-19 guidelines in Bhubaneswar.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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