BHOPAL: Despite the warning of the Union health minister to the local administrations to be more vigilant during festival season, the Bhopal police instead of ensuring strict enforcement of the Covid-19 guidelines are busy checking vehicles and making challans. Blatant violations of the guidelines could be witnessed at market places, puja pandals as devotees are assembling in good numbers.
Dr Harsh Vardhan citing the example of Kerala, had said that gross negligence during Onam had led to a surge in coronavirus cases. He cited Kerala as a warning for other states against lowering the guard ahead of the festival season including Diwali and Dussehra.
The state government while opening all sectors and lifting all restrictions had issued guidelines to prevent further spread of infection in the festive season, but all the directives seem to remain confined to papers. While people, despite knowing the repercussions, seem to be in no mood to adhere to the guidelines, the administrative authorities too have got busy with other routine things. In temples, pujaris claim that they are ensuring adherence to social distancing and mask norms. But as far as markets are concerned, specially in congested Walled City, the guidelines are not being followed.
Police teams, deployed at various points in the city have shifted their focus to vehicle checking, leaving the enforcement of Covid-19 guidelines to the will and wish of the public. Police teams need to check huge gatherings in market places and puja pandals, however, their all focus is on \vehicle checking.
New Market Traders Association Ajay Dewnani said, “Police carry on vehicle checking throughout the year, but in pandemic times they need to be in markets accompanying BMC teams to ensure enforcement of the covid norms. Women cops should also be there to handle rush in market places. It is festival time and police need to shift their priority. In old Bhopal, deployment of police force and BMC employees is very much required for strict implementation of the guidelines and penalizing people found violating it.”
DIG Irshad Wali said that there should be proper implementation of the Covid-19 protocol of social distancing and face cover. The need of the hour during pandemic is to check rush in market specially during festivals, so we would shift the focus of police to ensuring this, he added.